How the West Was 'Cast

How the West Was 'Cast

Whether you grew up watching the movies of John Wayne, cut your teeth on Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” trilogy, or consider Kevin Costner to be the screen’s quintessential cowboy star, HOW THE WEST WAS ‘CAST is just the podcast you’ve been waiting for. Join screenwriter and journalist Matthew Chernov and film historian and professor Andrew Patrick Nelson as they discuss the beloved masterpieces, forgotten treasures, and curious cult movies that make up the Western film genre. From the timeless classics of the 1940s and ‘50s, to the bold and bloody titles of the 1960s and ‘70s, to the prestige Westerns of today, HOW THE WEST WAS ‘CAST explores one of cinema’s most fascinating and enduring genres.

Episodes

December 26, 2023 6 mins

Want to hear a secret episode of How the West Was ‘Cast?

We’ve recorded a new hourlong show that won’t be published online. But we’ll gladly send you the secret episode in exchange for reviewing our show on the Apple Podcast platform, or the Audible platform, or whatever platform you use. Simply review our podcast somewhere, take a screenshot of your review and email it to us, or just email us a message letting us know y...

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This year marks the centennial anniversary of Warner Brothers, the legendary Hollywood studio founded by Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner. To commemorate the occasion, we're joined by author Chris Yogerst, whose latest book - The Warner Brothers - was recently published by the University Press of Kentucky. On this fascinating episode, Chris and Andrew Patrick Nelson discuss the history of the Western film genre at Warner Br...

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October 4, 2023 92 mins

It’s the Halloween season, so we’re returning to the terrifying topic of horror Westerns! Join us as we discuss, dissect, and dismember six of the scariest, eeriest, and just plain weirdest Westerns ever made. From a moody 1959 vampire film to an occult oddity released in the '70s to a would-be Hollywood blockbuster from 2010, these macabre movies are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.

And as a blood-curdlin...

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On this special bonus episode, we take a look at the factual Western drama series Into the Wild Frontier, which is entering its fourth season on the INSP network. Our very own Andrew Patrick Nelson has appeared numerous times on the series, providing info and commentary about the legendary figures and historic events covered on the show. Joining us on podcast to discuss the series is Emmy-nominated filmmaker Paul Epstein, the execu...

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August 10, 2023 78 mins

1970 was an important year for Indian-themed Westerns, with A Man Called Horse and Soldier Blue both released within months of each other. But by far the most popular Indian Western of that year was Arthur Penn’s Oscar-nominated Little Big Man. On this episode, Andrew Patrick Nelson discusses the film’s public reception, its Vietnam war symbolism, the acclaimed performance of supporting actor Chief Dan George, and many other issues...

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May 31, 2023 64 mins

Return with us now to the decade that gave the world Zima®, Beanie Babies, and the Macarena. That's right, we're traveling back to the 1990s for a discussion about six overlooked Westerns that deserve more attention! You won't find iconic '90s classics like Dances with Wolves, Unforgiven, orTombstone on this particular show. Instead, we're focusing on '90s Westerns that have been either ignored, forgot...

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Written by Burt Kennedy and directed by Budd Boetticher, the intense 1959 Western Ride Lonesome stars legendary actor Randolph Scott as a bounty hunter traveling across a desolate landscape on a secret quest for vengeance. Join us for a fascinating conversation with two-time Emmy-winning screenwriter and producer Kirk Ellis, whose new book - titled Ride Lonesome - offers uniquely personal insights about one of the most popular West...

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The gripping story of a down-and-out cowhand who becomes ensnared in a complex scheme to dupe a local rancher out of a fortune, the moody 1948 film Blood on the Moon combines the mythic milieu of the Hollywood Western with the dark psychological themes of a classic noir. On this engaging episode, Andrew Patrick Nelson chats with acclaimed author, biographer and film noir expert Alan K. Rode, whose latest book – titled Blood on the ...

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Hold on to your hats, folks! On this episode, we're taking an in-depth look at some of the greatest Western movie hats of all time. You'll hear about iconic hats worn by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Burt Lancaster, Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Lee Marvin, and many more of your favorite stars. Joining us to talk about Western hats is actor Travis Eller, who owns and operates Ugly Outlaw Hats, a custom hat shop that special...

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Think about your favorite Western and chances are you can practically hear the rousing theme music playing in your head. On this melodious new episode, musician Mark Swan, from the band Natalie Pryce, joins us to discuss six Western film scores that we highly recommend. It’s an entertaining look at classic movie music from the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘90s. We also chat about Mark’s amazing new album, Frontera USA, which is the soundt...

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On this supersized episode, we’re discussing animated Westerns! From the charming 1956 Disney short A Cowboy Needs a Horse to the dazzling 2011 Oscar-winner Rango, you'll hear about many of the most beloved animated Westerns of all time. And joining us to talk about his own amazing contribution to the genre is acclaimed animator and director Phil Nibbelink, whose 1991 classic An American Tail: Fievel Goes West remains one of t...

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Later this month, the Pioneertown International Film Festival makes its debut in California’s High Desert region, kicking off three days of classic Westerns, world premieres, documentaries, shorts, concerts and live workshops. On this special bonus episode, we chat with Julian Pinder, the co-founder of the festival, and Todd Luoto, the festival’s head programmer, to find out more about the exciting Western-themed events they’re pla...

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This year marks the 70th anniversary of High Noon. To celebrate that auspicious occasion, we’ve invited award-winning author, professor and cultural historian Austin Fisher on the show to talk about the film’s reputation as the quintessential Cold War-era Western. Is High Noon really an allegory for the Hollywood blacklist and the anti-communist investigations of the 1940s and ‘50s? Or has that popular reading been overstated to a ...

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More than 40 years after its initial release, Michael Cimino's ambitious Western epic Heaven's Gate remains one of the most divisive films of all time. Some still see it as a colossal failure in every way, while others (like our very own Matthew Chernov) regard it as an astonishing work of art. On this special episode, we speak with author Charles Elton about his new book Cimino: The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, and t...

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If it's true that revenge is a dish best served cold, then this episode of How the West Was Cast is damn near frozen! Join us as we welcome author Tony Healey for a look at some of our favorite revenge-themed Westerns. You'll hear about films like Valdez is Coming, Hannie Caulder, Open Range, and many more. We also discuss Tony's recent novels in the popular Ralph Compton Western series. So put on your headphones and...

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If there's a quaternity of artists whose work in the Western genre continues to attract legions of fans and inspire generations of filmmakers, it's most certainly John Ford, John Wayne, Sergio Leone, and Clint Eastwood.  On this episode, co-host Andrew Patrick Nelson discusses the profound impact these four giants had on the genre, and reveals that many of the popular notions we have about them may not paint the full pict...

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Join us for a frank and funny conversation with filmmaker Courtney Hoffman, who discusses the dazzling costumes she designed for Jared Moshe's DEAD MAN'S BURDEN and Quentin Tarantino's THE HATEFUL EIGHT. We also talk about THE GOOD TIME GIRLS, an acclaimed short Western starring Laura Dern and Garret Dillahunt that Courtney both wrote and directed. It's a lively interview with one of the genre's brightest n...

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Join us for a conversation with esteemed film critic Joe Leydon about the new "100 Greatest Western Movies" list he compiled for Cowboys & Indians Magazine. During the episode, Joe reveals why certain films ranked high, while others - like "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," for example - don't appear at all. It's a lively discussion with one of the foremost authorities on the Western film genre. 

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June 14, 2021 64 mins

On this side-splitting episode, co-hosts Andrew Patrick Nelson and Matthew Chernov look at six comedy Westerns made between 1925 and 1998. From a silent classic about the friendship between a man and a cow to the final film of a Saturday Night Live legend, this rollicking roundup of titles is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone. It's the only podcast you'll ever hear that spends as much time talking about drag queen Divi...

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Join us for an interview with award-winning writer-director Maggie Greenwald, whose superb movie "The Ballad of Little Jo" is one of the best Westerns of the '90s. We discuss Maggie's love of the genre, her early work as an indie filmmaker, and we get the inside story about the making of her acclaimed Western. It's a conversation you won't want to miss!

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