What is a Western? Interview Series: Western Film and Television Oral History Project

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Topics: Imagined Wests

man in cowboy hat

Autry curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Maxine Hansen about the Western Film and Television Oral History Project, which documents first-hand accounts of the making of television and film Westerns, by the original cast and crew members.

This interview is part of a series exploring the significance of the Western genre and the ways in which the pop culture shapes our understanding of the American West.

What is a Western? Interview Series: Western Film and Television Oral History Project

Learn More


To Watch 

The Western Film and Television Oral History Project This trailer introduces the archive, with additional clips available here and here. For more information, see the Finding Aid for the archive.

The Virginian Owen Wister’s 1902 novel about a cowboy on a Wyoming ranch was the inspiration for many film adaptations, as well as this series.

Bonanza With 14 seasons and 431 episodes, the tale of the Cartwright family in 1860s Nevada is one of television's longest-running Western series.

Little House on the Prairie Based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this popular series tells the story of a family living in Minnesota in the 1870s and 1880s.


To Read 

Western Clippings Film and TV historian Boyd Magers gathers articles, interviews, and other unique content relating to Western movies and television series.

What’s Her Story: Women in the Archives This in-gallery and online exhibition reveals compelling stories of women found in the Autry’s collections. It also looks behind the scenes to share how the work of archivists bring new narratives to light, much as Maxine Hansen’s work preserves the stories of behind-the-scenes workers as well as stars.

Land Acknowledgment

The Autry Museum of American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

The Autry Museum in Griffith Park

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Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
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