Though the United States emerged from World War II with superpower status and quickly entered a period of economic prosperity, the stresses and contradictions of the Cold War nevertheless cast a shadow over American life. The same period marked the heyday of the western film. Cowboys as Cold Warriors shows that this was no coincidence. It examines many of the significant westerns released between 1946 and 1962, analyzing how they responded to and influenced the cultural climate of the country. Author Stanley Corkin discusses a dozen films in detail, connecting them to each other and to numerous others. He considers how these cultural productions both embellished the myth of the American frontier and reflected the era in which they were made.
Films discussed include: My Darling Clementine, Red River, Duel in the Sun, Pursued, Fort Apache, Broken Arrow, The Gunfighter, High Noon, Shane, The Searchers, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Magnificent Seven, The Alamo, Lonely Are the Brave, Ride the High Country, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.