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“ride With The Devil”

February 2024
1min read


I note that The Searchers is placed ahead of The Horse Soldiers . In that spirit, I intend forthwith to submit a list of the greatest Presidents in which Adlai Stevenson outranks John Kennedy.

But seriously, folks, doesn’t much of the fun of “10 best” lists in a given category consist in actually sticking to the category? To conflate Westerns and Civil War films is to miss an interesting historical point. The former have been a favored film genre with thousands of examples; the latter have been few, partly because Hollywood long considered the Civil War “box-office poison.”

Why? Maybe because movies must take a point of view—and are marketed nationally. It reminds me of a visit my family made in 1965 to an amusement park at Stone Mountain, Georgia. The park featured a train ride from which one observed Confederate soldiers enacting a skirmish—but it was with Indians, not Yankees. A century after Appomattox, with the civil rights controversy raging, blue vs. gray was evidently too hot to handle.

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