The chapters in part one of this text re-examine the impact of the mythic West on a selection of 19th-century texts in the light of the latest literary-critical approaches to Western writing. Works include Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales", Melville, Whitman, Twain and many others. The selection has been guided by the fact that all these works deal explicitly with the frontier West. The second half of the book contains chapters on the modern Western. First the literary or adult Western from Owen Wister's "The Virginian" through to E.L. Doctorow's "Welcome to Hard Times". The second chapter discusses the popular or formula Western, concentrating on what links it to the literary Western: violence and the love story, addressing such writers as Zane Grey and Max Brand. The third chapter is devoted entirely to Larry McMurtry's novels, "Lonesome Dove" and "Anything for Billy", examining in what sense and to what extent he succeeds in revitalizing the conventions and stereotypes on which the traditional popular Western is based.