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March 2013, Week 1


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Cynthia Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 5 Mar 2013 11:30:20 -0500
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“Financing the Frontier: Money and the Cinematic West”

An area of multiple panels for the 2013 Film & History Conference on 
Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen November 20-24, 2013
Madison Concourse Hotel (Madison, WI)
DEADLINE for abstracts: July 1, 2013

AREA: Financing the Frontier: Money and the Cinematic West

Film and television Westerns, especially those treating the American West, often disguise the role of money as a narrative element, a structuring and thematic principle, just as the external systems of production, distribution, consumption, and appropriation often disguise the role of money behind the glitter and glamour of celebrity. Financial matters play second fiddle, either to cowboy virtue or to movie-star verve. Whether it is disguised or advertised, however, money is a complex figure in the cinematic Western. How, for example, does money define heroes or villains or the national character itself? When does the ethical or moral identity of the frontier landowner or cattle rancher complement or conflict with his or her financial station? Money can create or destroy. How is the “wildness” of the West or the conception of progress or the conquest of nature a function of money—a function both of the instrumental power it has and of the assumptions it carries? How does money bring order or chaos to a frontier civilization? Why does money fail and when does it succeed on the frontier—as an image, a means, or a principle—and for whom? For that matter, how does it bring order or chaos to the Western myth-makers in Hollywood—or to their modern audiences?

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes proposals on the subject of money in Western films and television programs. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Guns for Hire (Wyatt Earp, My Darling Clementine, Bat Masterson, For A Few Dollars More, High Plains Drifter Sukiyaki Western Django)

* Robbery on the Range (Cat Ballou, The Train Robbers, Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid)

* Economies of Saloon Culture: Drinking, Gambling and/or the Frontier Flesh Trade (Maverick, Paladin, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Unforgiven)

* Commerce and Frontier Towns (Stagecoach, El Dorado, Rango) 

* Gold Fever and/or the Land Rush in The West (Way Out West, McKenna’s Gold, Ride The High Country, The Big Trail, Wagon Train, Wagon Master, The Land)

* Working Women (Calamity Jane, Annie Get Your Gun, Gunsmoke, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman)
* Cash and Cows (Rustlers, Red River, The Cowboys, The Johnson County War, Shane, Oklahoma)

* Native American issues:  treaties, exploitation, and revolution (Geronimo, Cheyenne Autumn, Little Big Man, Dances With Wolves)

* Box office and production considerations of Western movies and television programs

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by July 1, 2013 to

Sue Matheson, Area Chair
Financing the Frontier: Money and the Cinematic West
University College of the North
Email: [log in to unmask]
Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: