Filmmakers produce countless films across various genres n Hollywood since the birth of motion pictures in the 1880s to early 1900s. To name a few, there is noir, romantic comedy, action, fantasy, horror, action, western, and the like. The western is one of the oldest genres and remains a favorite among movie fans today.
What makes western films enticing to movie buffs is it takes you back to the American Old West, in the second half of the 19th century. The narrative typically revolves around a wandering, gunslinging cowboy riding his horse, armed either with a revolver or a rifle.
Often, you find yourself at the edge of your seat watching outlaws and law enforcers fighting for survival in a dangerous land. You will dig the thrill and suspense that come with the intense action.
The Western genre may not be as popular now as it was before. However, there are still many great films that will feed those who have an appetite for Western movies. If you have a craving for the best Westerns, you can explore a solid collection, both films and TV shows on Netflix.
You can dust off some of your favorite Western classics from Netflix’s vast library and watch them all over again. Also, you can relish a slew of more recent releases on this specific genre. Make some discoveries of lesser-known titles that are just as great to watch, too.
Over the years, the giant streaming platform has succeeded in offering the best selection of western movies of all time. There are not too many westerns to choose from. But Netflix quite has a sizeable choice of movies in this genre. It also offers several TV series any movie fan would truly enjoy, too.
Digging up the best ones out of Netflix’s deep roster of movies could be daunting, however. So, once again, we at Men’s Gear concocted for you 20+ best Westerns you can stream right now on Netflix. We take the pleasure to help you with this list for your next binge-watch session.
Our top choices include The Wild Bunch, No Country for Old Men, The Hateful Eight, Dead Man’s Burden, and more. Excellent western TV shows, meanwhile, include Godless, Hell on Wheels, Longmire, and more. But if you have some in mind, let us know in the comment section.
You may also check out our guides for the best revenge movies, best German movies, and best survival movies currently streaming right now on Netflix.
Dead Man’s Burden (2012)
Dead Man’s Burden is an indie film. Despite that this oater only had a low budget, it is a powerful one. The film has more focus on the storyline, the acting, and the landscape instead of action scenes.
This 2012 western film is set during the post-civil war. It tells David-and-Goliath kind of a story of a family that struggles against a mining corporation. Martha lost her father and soldier brothers during the war. Now, she and her hubby, Heck, are compelled to sell their land in the middle of nowhere to a copper company that gets too eager to take it.
But before they could close the deal and move to the big city out West, Martha’s ill-tempered brother Wade surprisingly comes home. He deserted the Union Army and wanted to see his old man. Although they are family, the gap between them widened during those years. They do not trust each other with their own secrets.
Dead Man’s Burden is a slow-burning film, gradually unfolding an unchangeable tragedy. It surely has the elements of a great western movie that appeals to every indie-film savvy audience.
The less-known cast is a sure winner. Producer-turned-filmmaker Jared Moshe brilliantly wrote the story with clever twists and rich characters. It is even likely that you would watch Dead Man’s Burden twice.
Director: Jared Moshe – Cast: Barlow Jacobs, Clare Bowen, David Call
Running time: 1 hr 33 min
Gone Are the Days (2018)
Gone are the Days is quite a good western movie to watch. It is not a “shoot-them-up” adventure that is often seen in classic westerns. However, you will undoubtedly dig the film’s slower and tender love story.
This film follows the story of Taylor Flynn, a notorious outlaw. Falling ill and aging, he is no longer able to recognize the man he has turned out to be from the man he was.
Flynn is dead-set to face his end in the most dramatic way but things take a wrong turn and did not go as planned. He discovers that his estranged daughter is imposed to live a wretched life. He now intends to save her, but it does not come easy for him. The lead character is faced with his personal struggles traveling the road to redemption.
Gone are the Days excels in its narrative and does not get complex. The film’s moral story revolves around aging and redemption. Critics say that lead actor Lance Henriksen is perfectly fit for the role and delivers a superb performance. Co-actor Tom Berenger also impresses for his character as the eccentric sheriff.
Director: Mark Landre Gould – Cast: Lance Henriksen, Tom Berenger, Billy Lush
Running time: 1 hr 39 min
The Homesman (2014)
The Homesman is based on the 1988 novel of the same title penned by Glendon Swarthout. This western drama helmed by Hollywood icon Tommy Lee Jones takes place on a journey from east to west. The travel from Nebraska territory to a town in Iowa quite opposes the course of the archetypal western route.
Although this movie is titled The Homesman, it actually tells the adventure of three women. They are not your damsels in distress. Rather, they serve as the heart of the action and heroines of strength and bravery.
Propelled by the rough settler life in the American frontier, reverent self-reliant Mary Bee Cuddy takes on the task to save the women. They head east in a covered wagon to Iowa. It doesn’t take long for Mary to realize the perils and relentless threats involved along the way, however. That’s when she hires George Briggs, a low-life drifter.
The Homesman veers away from the typical premise of the Wild West as a realm for cowboys and Indians. It is in fact critically acclaimed and received various nominations for its dark, generally bleak narrative of morality.
Director: Tommy Lee Jones – Cast Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer
Running time: 2 hr 2 min
The Salvation (2014)
The Salvation could be one of the lesser-known films included in our list of best westerns you can stream on Netflix. Nevertheless, it boasts a unique take on a western genre that is worth checking out.
Western films, in general, usually hinge on the premise of the American Old West era. The Salvation tells an immigrant’s tale of a man who seeks to build a new home with his family. But little did he know about the dangers he is getting into.
This movie, though, makes a classic western revenge movie with a fresh view of a customary tale. The brother of one of the first revenge victims is now plotting his revenge. The villains are big baddies while the good guys are not totally good, but definitely right.
The Salvation also gets a boost from its stellar roster of actors, with Mads Mikkelsen in a surprising lead-action role. The presence of beauteous Eva Green is a compelling one as ever. However, Jeffrey Dean Morgan shines as he takes on the villain role really, really well. He is quite a scene-stealer here.
Aside from superb acting, photography, and direction, the soundtrack stands out, making it a spellbinding movie to watch. You may see this movie pay homage to director John Ford’s film The Searchers, which is arguably one of the greatest westerns ever made in the history of filmmaking.
Director: Kristian Levring – Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Running time: 1 hr 32 min
Hostiles is another western film that is set in 1892, which follows the adventure of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale). He embarks on a harrowing journey through the perilous territory, from Fort Berringer, a remote Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana.
Despite rigid reluctance, he is compelled to escort an ailing Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to the tribal lands. Their journey takes an interesting turn when the two former rivals met a young widow (Rosamund Pike). Her family was killed on the plains.
Now, all three of them have to work together to deal with the terrible landscape and defeat hostile Comanches along the way. It appears, the hostiles the movie title refers to are the Comanches.
As most westerns use the trope of cowboys vs. Indians, Hollywood often depicts the Native Americans as vile savages. In fact, this has become a flawed aspect of this genre. This film, however, is one of the few that attempts to show the brutality faced by each side of the conflict.
Nevertheless, Hostiles features a well-founded setting for a western narrative. The film’s stunning visuals and superb acting performances of Bale, Pike, and Studi also help boost its appeal to western movie fans.
Director: Scott Cooper – Cast: Scott Shepherd, Rosamund Pike, Ava Cooper, Christian Bale
Running time: 2 hr 14 min
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen always have a penchant for the western genre. Their latest western anthology movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, reflects black comedy that is known to be the Coen Brothers’ trademark.
The duo tells a six-part tale about American Frontier through their unparalleled vocals. The parody of each chapter set in the Old American West represents a striking narrative about the archetypal western movie characters. The film’s separate short stories also include ones of a singing cowboy, bank robbers, and prospectors.
The first chapter of the six-part series called The Misanthrope literally kicks off with a bang. Tim Blake Nelson plays Buster Scruggs, the titular character. An outlaw who is known as “The Misanthrope,” Scruggs sings and yee-haws as he travels the road to a Western town, leaving laughter, singing, and carnage all behind.
The second part titled “Near Algodones” headlines James Franco, a bank robber. He gets punished for his crime in some dragging fashion, it turns comical.
The third chapter, “Meal Ticket,” stars Liam Neeson, the grizzled and quiet traveling impresario. Each night in frontier towns he opens his mobile stage featuring his legless and armless orator.
The fourth of the six-part series is titled “All Gold Canyons.” The story follows a lonesome prospector, played by Tom Waits, who found a major gold zone. The fifth chapter revolves around twosome loners (Zoe Kazan and Bill Heck) on the Oregon Trail who get to like each other.
The final part, “The Mortal Remains,” transpires nearly inside the stagecoach. Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Saul Rubinek, Chelcie Ross, and Jonjo O’Neill play as a small pack of strangers who find themselves talking with one another about their past lives. Together, they share a surprisingly fervid destination.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs does not feature repeated characters. The location throughout the movie spans from the outback towns, prairies, to mountain passages.
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen – Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown
Running time: 2hr 13min
The Hateful Eight (2015)
The Hateful Eight is an American western thriller film written and directed by one of Hollywood’s acclaimed filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino. So, you can expect that it is packed with violence, the Tarantino way.
It is known how the Kill Bill director loves westerns, so much that two of his 10 movies are of the genre. The Hateful Eight is not as big as Django Unchained in terms of scope, as it has a small setting.
However, it has its own great qualities, with an amazing cast. Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, and Jennifer Jason Leigh all stand out in their performances.
The Hateful Eight tells the story of a group of dangerous strangers who are traveling to Red Rock. Two bounty hunters and a prisoner take shelter with five other suspicious characters in a small cabin in Wyoming during a blizzard.
Amid unraveled secrets and pasts explored, bodies start to pile up. They soon begin doubting one another, wondering who they can trust.
This is a lengthy film lasting for more than three hours that makes it a tough sit. Still, it is a movie for fans who love anything Tarantino.
Hateful Eight earned Italian composer Ennio Morricone an Oscar for Best Score. Cinematographer Robert Richardson shot the film in 70mm that makes it look incredibly great.
Director: Quentin Tarantino – Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Running time: 3 hr 7 min
Slow West (2015)
Slow West is an old-school western with gripping twists from musician-turned-filmmaker John Maclean. This movie might disappoint fans who dig archetypal intense gunslinging action in westerns.
Not all westerns, however, need to have endless gun shooting scenes to be riveting. In fact, there is much more to love about this slow-burn western.
Slow West, as the title suggests, first invests in good storytelling with powerful characters. And then, sift through the gunfights.
Slow West tells a story of a 16-year-old boy on his journey to 19th century Frontier America to find the woman he loves. The young Scottish boy happens to meet mysterious traveler Silas. He is an outlaw who is willing to serve as his guide in his quest across rugged, dangerous territories.
Michael Fassbender is pretty convincing and a charmer as the mysterious bounty hunter who keeps his true motive a secret from the unsuspecting Scottish teen. Ben Mendelsohn has once again proved himself as an effective cinematic villain in this movie.
Director: John Maclean – Cast: Silas Selleck, Michael Fassbender, Jay Cavendish, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Running time: 1 hr 24 min
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Dances with Wolves is arguably the most popular in our list of best westerns that you can currently stream on Netflix. It is an American epic western film that hit the big screens in 1990.
Directed by Kevin Costner who also starred in the lead role, this was lauded by fans and critics alike. It won seven Academy Awards. In fact, it beat Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, Goodfellas, to win Oscar’s Best Picture. It also won the Golden Globe Award for best drama.
Dances with Wolves tells the tale of Union Army Lieutenant John Dunbar. After his heroic acts during the Civil War in Tennessee, he was offered an outpost of his choosing. He asked to be assigned to the western frontier.
In this territory, John develops a bond with the Lakota Indians tribe. Lured by their simple lifestyle, he desires to live with them, leaving everything that he was behind.
Based on how the tribe sees him, he is given the name “Dances with Wolves.” He then falls in love with a white woman who has been raised by the tribe.
It did not take long there is no more frontier. That is when things start going south and tragic for John and the natives that are now his people. The Union soldiers arrive and advance on the plains. John must make a decision that will impact his life and the whole Lakota tribe.
At the peak of his stardom, Costner was able to produce something that is not short of greatness. It is a blockbuster film thanks to the phenomenal revival of the Western genre in the 90s.
Director: Keven Costner – Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Tantoo Cardinal, Robert Pastorelli, Charles Rocket
Running Time: 3 hr 56 min
Hell or High Water (2018)
Hell or High Water is a modern take on the western genre. It centers on two brothers who embark on a bank-robbing road trip and a clever lawman tracking them.
Bank robbery is rather a common subgenre for western films. However, what makes Hell or High Water unique is it transpires in a modern American setting, particularly in oppressive West Texas.
Viewers should not expect it to be fun and lively. Rather, this movie tells the tale of two desperate brothers in an unkind world. They rob banks to come up with the money they need to pay their mortgage.
It would have been less complicated if one of them was more careful and the Texas Rangers weren’t on their tail. In this movie, you would find yourself torn between sympathizing with the outlaw and siding with the lawmen.
Hell or High Water has received a number of Academy Awards nominations and a sleeper hit at the box office.
Director: David Mackenzie – Cast: Dale Dickey, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham, Katy Mixon, William Sterchi, Buck Taylor
Running Time: 1 hr 42 min
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Wild Bunch is a 1969 western movie created by filmmaker Sam Peckinpah. The western genre always is a violent one.
But Peckinpah even raised the bar higher in defining violence, something mainstream Hollywood had not ever done in the 60s. The western standard in this day and age, however, would make
The Wild Bunch a relatively more tamed version. It has, however, the sheer nihilism that truly makes it stand out from other movies classified in this genre.
Set in Texas in 1913, this film tells the story of aging outlaws with a single purpose: pull off one last big heist before the Old West is thoroughly no more. Pike Bishop leads the gang in a robbery of a railroad office that keeps a stash of silver. They were ambushed by Deke Thornton, Pike’s former partner, along with a group of bounty hunters that were hired by the railroad.
The Wild Bunch has heavily influenced the action movies of today. Peckinpah was the first to use slow-motion and quick edits in action scenes that are seen in contemporary films.
The remake of Peckinpah’s classic western adventure masterpiece is currently in the works.
Director: Sam Peckinpah – Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates
Running Time: 2 hr 25 min
No Country for Old Men (2008)
No Country for Old Men is basically a classic western masterpiece yet has a more modern take of the genre. It is said to be the Coen Brothers’ creating an absolute action movie that features a slew of superb, crafted set pieces.
The No Country for Old Men is a faithful adaptation of author Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same title. The movie tells the story of a man named Llewelyn Moss who finds a bag of drug money in the desert. He is then pursued by ruthless killer Anton Chigurh, who is the owner of the money.
You’d feel a white-knuckle thrill watching the tense and brutal chase between Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem in the movie. The heart of the story, however, centers on a jaded lawman, Sheriff Bell.
The aging sheriff follows the trail of violence and helps save Moss from the doom the vicious Chirgurh leaves behind every time. Moss, however, could have not gotten himself into deep trouble has he not taken the money for himself.
The majority of western classics are set in the post-Civil War era and dig into how Americans changed during the tie. But No Country for Old Men brilliantly explores the post-Vietnam War. It’s entirely a different era of change to explore.
The film has the merits of a classic western but the lesson of the story is far more complicated. It, too, has an anticlimactic ending that draws a mixed reaction from the audience. The ending is in fact divisive.
No Country for Old Men disappointed a lot of viewers who anticipated to see the gunslinging hero and villain fight to the death in a more conventional fashion.
Director: The Coen Brothers – Cast: Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem
Running Time: 2 hr 3 min
The Killer (2017)
The Killer is one of the most recent Netflix originals created by director Marcelo Galvão. This 2017 film is a gritty, heavyweight western to watch. It represents the streaming company’s growing success in its foray into the international audience.
As a Brazilian shoot-‘em-up flick Portuguese language film, The Killer tells a winding story and leaves no bloody details. The movie gets to send its point across the movie lovers in up-close-and-personal details.
Titled O Matador in its global release to other countries, The Killer features Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portraying the lead character. As a manchild assassin, Cabeleira looks for his adopted father through the badlands of Pernambuco, Brazil.
The story starts unfolding as a man doing what he can to keep his children safe and away from criminal brothers. The film dives deeper into a quietly told tale with a personal connection.
The Killer is a grime, exaggerated kind of movie but highly entertaining with Morgado’s powerful performance. Apart from the fact that it is in Portuguese, this movie transports viewers into a whole new definition of the Wild West. It is not western but it rather has the look and feels of Brazil’s hinterlands.
Director: Marcelo Galvão – Cast: Diogo Morgado, Nill Marcondes, Deto Montenegro, Maria de Medeiros, and Etienne Chicot
Running Time: 1 hr 47 min
Casa de mi Padre (2012)
Casa de mi Padre is a western comedy, a rich western subgenre, released in 2012. However, there are only a few offerings in this subcategory. Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles, for one, is hailed as one of the best American comedies of all time.
The Ridiculous 6 and A Million Ways to Die in the West are more recent, but lackluster ones. Will Ferrell-led film Casa de mi Padre is one of the few memorable western comedies that fans will love.
Casa de mi Padre is told in Spanish with English subtitles. This movie is as much a comedic tribute to Spanish TV series stereotypes as westerns.
It tells a tale of a rancher who has lived and worked on his father’s ranch in Mexico all his life. Now, he has to fight for his family, his new love, and his place against the country’s most dangerous drug lord.
Directors: Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont – Cast: Will Ferrell. Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna Genesis Rodriguez, and Pedro Armendariz, Jr.
Running Time: 1 hr 25 min
Wind River (2017)
Wind River is a 2017 neo-Western murder mystery movie helmed by screenwriter Taylor Sheridan in his directorial debut. Set in the wintry, vast lands of Wyoming, this film is a gripping drama.
This film tells the story of an FBI agent and a game tracker. The two work together as they try to uncover a mysterious murder. Wildlife officer Cory Lambert discovers a dead local Native American girl out on a Native American reservation. FBI officer Jane Banner arrives to investigate the murder case.
Most western movies commonly take place in the Old West at a specific period of time. However, Wild River is one of few that utilizes the western archetype in a modern setting.
The film’s casting is somehow controversial as it features two white actors in the story of the Native American struggle. Both Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, though, delivered strong performances in their respective roles.
While having the story of the Native American struggle feature two White actors isn’t ideal, Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are solid in the roles. Critics say Wild River is among the tensest standoff movies at present.
Director: Taylor Sheridan – Cast: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Kelsey Asbille, Graham Greene, and Jon Bernthal
Running Time: 1 hr 50 min
Strange Empire is a western drama series that premiered on CBC Television in October of 2013. This Canadian TV show follows the story of three women who fight for survival following the killings of their men.
Set in the 1860s near the Alberta-Montana border, the series revolves around racial prejudices, family relationships, and the people living in a young town. Critics say that Strange Empire proves to be a powerful show with its unconventional storyline.
Strange Empire departs from the archetypal white gunslinging heroic men dominating the western genre. Rather, it highlights the strength of female protagonists as pivotal characters.
Until now, it remains a mystery as to why Strange Empire had only lasted for a single season. Fans think it could have deserved a few more seasons.
Unluckily, after a one-season run, CBC Television canceled Strange Empire in March 2015. Those who haven’t watched this western show yet can stream all 13 episodes via Netflix.
Creator: Laurie Finstad- Knizhnik – Cast: Cara Gee, Tattiawna Jones, Melissa Farman
Running Time: 1 season, 13 episodes
Godless is an Emmy-winning Netflix original production that premiered globally in 2017. This western series is created by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank. Notably, this show has a nice score to boot.
Its strong cast ensemble features two great actors Jack O’Connell and Jeff Daniels in major roles. With its observant and smart writing, Godless was lauded both by The Washington Post and Vanity as one of the 10 best TV series of 2017.
The plot of the series tells the tale of Roy Coode, a wounded outlaw who’s on the run from his infamous criminal ex-boss Frank Griffin. Frank takes refuge in a remote mining town mainly operated by women.
Godless is a mini-series that only ran for seven episodes. Despite that the show has a short runtime, viewers will get enough out of watching it. It is definitely worth your while
In fact, it received positive reviews, with an 8.4/10 score on IMDb and an 88 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
Creator: Scott Frank – Cast: Jeff Bridges, Jack O’ Connell, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Merrit Wever, Thomas Brodie Sangster, and Sam Waterston
Running Time: 1 season, 7 episodes
Hell on Wheels
Hell on Wheels is dubbed as one of the best American western shows to have ever hit the small screen in the past decade. AMC quietly offered this series in 2011. It became available for online streaming on Netflix in the United States in August 2018.
This show takes its name after the mobile encampment that follows an army of Union Pacific railroad workers. They are heading west to construct the First Transcontinental Railroad in North America during the 1860s.
It transpires at a time when everyone struggles to earn money to buy food. Hell on Wheels features Gambling houses, saloons, brothels, and gambling houses assembled with light and easily managed materials.
This western show’s main plot is a recurring one, which centers on railroad construction. Hell on Wheels follows the lives of people involved with road construction. These are laborers, sex workers, surveyors, and even mercenaries.
It appears, though, that Hell on Wheels, along with other more recent series, have gone unnoticed, when AMC’s programming started to wane. However, this western drama surrounding the railroad construction makes a big, bold, and badass show that is worth your while.
Creator: Joe and Tony Gayton – Cast: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, rapper Common, and Dominique McElligot
Running Time: 5 seasons, 57 episodes
Frontier is a historical period drama, which was co-created by Netflix and Discovery Canada. It heavily adapts the hallmarks of a western genre but it is not set in the United States like other western movies. Instead, it takes place in Canada.
Set in Canada, Frontier chronicles the power struggles and engrossing greed amid the North American fur trade in the 1700s. The show’s protagonist is played by Aquaman actor Jason Momoa, an outlaw that is part-Irish and part-Cree.
This series is packed with intense, gory action. So, you will completely dig it if you are into violent and mindless westerns as a form of entertainment. While it may lack substance, Frontier makes a good selection for binge-watching.
Frontier was renewed for a second season earlier than the show’s premiere in October 2016 and spanned two more seasons. It has been distributed internationally by Netflix since January 2017.
Creators: Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie – Cast: Jason Momoa, Landon Liboiron
Running Time: 3 seasons, 18 episodes
Hatfields & McCoys
Hatfields & McCoys tells the story of America’s most renowned rival families. This limited series debuted in May 2012 as the first aired and biggest scripted drama on The History Channel.
Starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys boosted the network’s ratings. The three-part mini-series also received various accolades, including five Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.
This western show revolves around two bitterly feuding rural families in West Virginia and Kentucky around the 1860s to 1890s. It is specifically set in the Appalachians, along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. The production, however, was mainly shot in Romania, outside Brasov wherein the Carpathians stand in as the Appalachians.
Hatfields & McCoys is lauded by fans and critics alike, it earns a high IMDb rating of 8.0/10.
Director: Kevin Reynolds – Cast: Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger, and Powers Boothe
Running Time: 3 episodes
Longmire is an American Western crime drama TV series that has a modern backdrop. It first premiered in June 2012 on the A&E network. It then became the highest-rated television series on the network.
The show is based on a series of novels of Walt Longmire Mysteries authored by best-selling author Craig Johnson. The series is then adapted for the small screen by creators John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin.
A&E decided to cancel Longmire after a three-season run. However, during the advent of the streaming era, it is one of the shows saved by Netflix. The streaming giant picked up the show and renewed for three more seasons.
Longmire follows the story of widowed sheriff Walt Longmire, played by Robert Taylor, in the fictional city of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The plot of the series centers on the titular character’s investigation of major crimes transpiring within his designated territory.
The series is a modern take on the archetypes of the western genre. Thus, it may not satiate the appetite of solid fans of westerns. Longmire is still a well-rounded western show to watch, though.
All the episodes of six seasons can be streamed on Netflix online in North America and Australia.
Creators: ohn Coveny and Hunt Baldwin. – Cast: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, and Lou Diamond Phillips
News of the World (2020)
Bourne films director Paul Greengrass and award-winner Tom Hanks deliver a heart-warming, action-packed Western film in News of the World. Released in 2020, the American Western drama is adapted from the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles.
News of the World richly details the story of a retired civil war captain and an orphaned girl who lost her family. She’s since under the care and raised as one of the Kiowa tribe.
Now, the war veteran takes a quest to return the girl to her last remaining kin after losing her Kiowa family, too. The two must survive the natural and human perils of the American Frontier to get to their destination alive.
Hanks star opposite Helen Zengel who makes her debut as an actress. This western flick received positive reviews from movie pundits for its cinematography, musical score, and Greengrass’ directorial prowess. Both critics and fans lauded Hanks and Zengel for delivering exceptional performances in their respective roles.
It’s noteworthy to mention that News of the World received several nominations including Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at the 93rd Academy Awards.
In the US, News of World hit theaters on Christmas 2020, grossing $12 million. It was released in other territories by streaming behemoth Netflix in early 2021. The film is hailed as one of the best westerns added to its catalog since.
Run Time: 1 hour 59 minutes
In a Valley of Violence (2016)
Blumhouse Productions offering In a Valley of Violence is an American Western film written and directed by filmmaker Ti West. The movie premiered in theaters and in a limited release through video in demand in 2016.
Similar to many Westerns, In a Valley of Violence revolves around a struggle between a drifter protagonist and a villainous local marshal. The film focuses on a mysterious wanderer who travels toward Mexico through Old West’s barren desert with his dog companion.
Things take a turn for Paul (Ethan Hawke) when he decides to take a shortcut through a huge valley. He soon finds himself in Denton, a forgotten town known as a valley of violence, hence the film’s title.
Denton is then-popular as a mining town and now, it’s almost empty. What’s worse is a gang of misfits and buffoons led by the untouchable troublemaking son of the town’s tough marshal.
In a Valley of Violence main cast also includes Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, and John Travolta.
The Western drama saw a commercial failure, only grossing $61,797, however, it earned critical praise for the screenplay, direction, and performances.
Run Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained is an American revisionist Western offering set in the Old West and Antebellum South. Seemingly, it pays homage to the 1966 Spaghetti Western film Django and featured Franco Nero in a cameo role.
This 2012 film serves as Quentin Tarantino’s first take on the western genre. The movie poignantly reflects real-life events and themes that film buffs even have an impression that it’s based on a true story.
The story follows the titular character who is a former slave freed by a German dentist turned bounty hunter, Dr. Schultz. The two team up to free his wife and exact revenge on her kidnapper who is the ruthless Candyland plantation owner.
The revisionist Western received critical acclaim from movie critics and viewers alike. The movie also boasts various awards and a Best Picture nomination. It was slammed, however, for using racial slurs and depicting extreme violence which seems too much for the filmdom.
Django Unchained all-star cast also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christoph Waltz. Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Michael Parks, and Don Johnson appeared in supporting roles.
Run Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Rango is a 2011 computer-animated Western comedy by filmmaker Gore Verbinski, with screenwriter John Logan on board. Having a titular character of an anthropomorphic chameleon may look like a movie for kids but it’s certainly not.
This Academy award-winning animated movie proves to raise the bar with its solid screenplay and impressive visual style. Verbinski seems to borrow a page from the best movies of the genre such as Fistful of Dollars and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The film focuses on Rango, a chameleon who lives most of his life as a sheltered family pet is faced with an identity crisis. On his aimless road to self-discovery, he winds up in a place called Dirt, a frontier town that desperately needs a new sheriff.
At first, Rango only tries to role-play the part, however, he soon transforms into the real hero who saves the town and the girl at all once.
Rango features the voice-acting talents of Hollywood’s big stars Johnny Depp and Isla Fisher. The cast also includes Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, and Timothy Olyphant.
Run Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Quigley Down Under makes a great addition to your collections of western movies and shows to stream on Netflix. The 1990 western/romance release brings the viewers to the Old West across the ocean to the Outback in Down Under.
The film’s plot centers on American sharpshooter cowboy Matthew Quigley who answers a help-wanted calling for a sharpshooter on a newspaper ad. So, he travels to the Australian outback for the job, only to find that it actually involves killing Aboriginal Australians.
As he turns it down, his supposed employer tries to kill him. Quigley now has to escape together with a woman he saved from some of the rancher’s men. The Aborigines came to the rescue and Quigley returns the favor by plotting revenge against their common enemies.
This Tom Selleck-starrer film received positive reviews from film critics and fans of the genre. It’s lauded for impeccable acting, cinematography, screenplay, and musical score.
Quigley Down Under is directed by Australian director Simon Wincer, with John Hill for the screenplay. The cast also includes Laura San Giacomo, Alan Rickman, Chris Haywood, Ron Haddrick, Tony Bonner, Conor McDermottroe, Roger Ward, and Ben Mendelsohn.
Run Time: 2 hours 0 minutes