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Museum features analysis of movies about the Wild West

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The Washington County Historical Society is sponsoring an Oregon Chautauqua program by Richard Etulain titled, “The Magic West on Film.” This public program will take place Wednesday, July 18 at 3:30 p.m. in the Washington County Museum on the Rock Creek Campus. This program is funded by the Oregon Council for the Humanities (OCH).

Films about the American West have entertained audiences around the world for more than a century. Why have these adventure stories, with their simplistic plots lines and stereotypical portrayals of cowboys and Native Americans, dancehall girls and local schoolmarms, so captured our imagination? Do these films deal primarily with the historical West, or are they a reflection of sociopolitical attitudes at the time of their making? Could a combination of these impulses allow Westerns to resonate so deeply in the American psyche?

Richard Etulain’s slide-illustrated lecture offers insights to these questions through a historical overview of 100 years of Western films. By considering classics like Stagecoach, High Noon, and Shane, as well as modern Westerns like Geronimo, Lone Star, and Brokeback Mountain, participants will explore the popular genre’s changing images of heroes and heroines, Native Americans, and attitudes about the environment.

The Oregon Council for the Humanities was founded in 1971 as an independent, nonprofit, affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The nonprofit believes that knowledge and ideas are fundamental to the health of our communities. Their public and educational programs encourage Oregonians to learn about and discuss social, cultural, and public issues. It receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oregon Cultural Trust, grants from foundations, and the generous contributions of individuals.

Please visit the council on the web at to learn more about its programs, or contact Carol E. Hickman at (503) 241-0543 in Portland, (800) 735-0543 statewide, or at

The Washington County Museum connects with West Side Max by bus lines 52 and 67. It is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, except major holidays. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and youth ages 6-17. Admission is free for children under 6, members, employees of corporate members, and PCC faculty, students and staff. Admission is free on Mondays. Research Reference Library is open by appointment Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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