Westerns, by Eric J. Smith

“What are they about?”

“Pretty much the same thing.”

“What’s that?”

“The land.”

“The land?”

“Who it belongs to; how it should be used.”

“People disagree?”

“You need conflict for a story.”

“Who are the players?”

“Indians, drifters, homesteaders, cattlemen, railroads.”

“Where do the conflicts come in?”

“Rich cattlemen want to marginalize everyone else—they can’t stand the Indians because they want to roam, and cattlemen like boundaries, except when they don’t, and they hate farmers and sheepherders. They also buy the law.”

“How are conflicts settled?”

“People get shot or lynched.”

“And railroads?”

“They pay for rights of way.”

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