From opportunity to destitution : the role of the land in Hollywood's depictions of Oklahoma
Thurston, Colleen Elizabeth.
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Much as John Ford's Westerns help to establish the myth of the wild and unconquered American West, a place that existed only in Hollywood and in the imaginations of generations of Americans nostalgic for perceived unburdened freedom in the form of manifest destiny, Oklahoma's on-screen landscapes cannot be separated from the stories they help tell. From cowboy and Indian Westerns, to desperate dust bowl narratives, to southern plains and country living, Hollywood tells only the stories of what Oklahoma can and does represent to the rest of the country - rife with stereotypes and realities alike. Cities are not prominent in Oklahoma films, with scenic country landscapes providing the stage for the action. Hollywood films set in Oklahoma are centered around the landscape, and many are unique in that their stories cannot be told in any other geographic location in the country. This is due in part to many of these mainstream films being adaptations of primary sources that explicitly state the setting as Oklahoma, and accounts for the development of the depiction of the landscape as a character in such films.