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Will Wrights work Six Guns Society is a proposal of a sociology of the economically most successful Western movies in the four decades between 1930 and 1972 Mr Wright selects as the basis for his study the sixty-four Western films that figure into the Motion Picture Heralds top - grossing charts that is films that made over four million dollars Wright calls his book a structural study of the Western and all of his research is strongly tied to the work of Claude Levi-Strauss Kenneth Burke and Vladimir Propp It is not a study of film as art but rather of film as entertainment popular First Mr Wright discusses the nature of myth This discussion is sometimes hard to follow because of the authors excessive use of industry terminology but it is regardless a helpful analysis Then he analyzes the plots of the films and divides them into four different groups 1 the classical plot with an individual hero roughly the 1930s through the 1950s 2 the vengeance variation the 1950s and 1960s 3 the transition theme the 1950s 4 the professional plot with a group of heroes from the 1960s and 1970s Wright compares and contrasts his four plot types and then further analyzes the films via four binary oppositions he sees in most westerns insideoutside goodbad strongweak and wildernesssociety He provides close readings of the texture of seventeen different films and also refers to several others in attempting to show how these films illustrate Americas changing views about society and experiences evolving from these ideas In chapter five Wright argues that the shift in plot patterns of Western films reflects a shift in the American economy from a competitive market that emphasized private and individual business to corporate planning This shift is said to have taken place after World War II in the 1950s Wright never really defines what he means by myth and subsequently the reader
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