Best Western Movies Based on Books

Movie directors take inspiration from many things when making movies, one of them is obviously books. Many western movies are based on books so here is a list of the best western movies that are based on books.
The Top Ten
1 The Searchers The Searchers Product Image

The Searchers is a 1956 Western film based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, set during the Texas–Indian wars, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his abducted niece, accompanied by his adoptive nephew.

2 True Grit True Grit Product Image

The 1969 and 2010 remake are based on the 1968 novel by Charles Portis. The novel is told from the perspective of a woman named Mattie Ross, who recounts the time when she was 14 and sought retribution for the murder of her father by a scoundrel, Tom Chaney.

3 The Outlaw Josey Wales The Outlaw Josey Wales Product Image

Starring Clint Eastwood in the main role, the film was adapted from author Asa Earl "Forrest" Carter's 1972 novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished as Gone to Texas). The film tells the story of Josey Wales, a Missouri farmer whose family is murdered by Union militants during the Civil War.

4 Dances with Wolves Dances with Wolves Product Image

Dances with Wolves is a 1990 Western film starring, directed, and produced by Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake that tells the story of Union Army lieutenant John J. Dunbar (Costner), who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and of his dealings with a group of Lakota.

5 Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove Product Image

This item of the list is a little different than the other entries. Lonesome Dove is four-part adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Larry McMurthy. The author made 4 novels: Lonesome Dove (1985), Streets of Laredo (1993), Dead Man's Walk (1995) and Comanche Moon (1997). All four of them received movie adaptations, with the addition of a fifth miniseries: Return to Lonesome Dove which takes place a year after Lonesome Dove. I have watched all five movies and I loved every second of it, I definitely recommend them.

6 Open Range Open Range Product Image

Open Range is a 2003 American Western film directed and co-produced by Kevin Costner, starring Robert Duvall and Costner. The inspiration for this movie came from Kevin Costner who grew up reading the western romance novels of Lauran Paine and Open Range is based on Paine's 1990 novel The Open Range Men.

7 Shane Shane Product Image

This movie is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Jack Schaefer, published in 1949. The main protagonist Shane is a drifter who rides into an isolated valley in the sparsely settled Wyoming Territory. He is hired as a farmhand by local rancher Joe Starrett who lives as a homesteader with his wife and their young son. Starrett tells Shane that a war of intimidation is being waged on the valley's settlers at the hands of a ruthless cattle baron, Rufus Ryker, who has hired various rogues and henchmen to harass them and force them out of the valley.

8 Little Big Man Little Big Man Product Image

The movie was made from the book of the same name. Written in 1964 by Thomas Berger, the book with stories of Jack Crabb's adventures in the West is based on a compilation of many different journals, diaries, and other writings of people who did live in the old West.

9 The Ox-Bow Incident The Ox-Bow Incident Product Image

The film was adapted from the 1940 novel of the same name, written by Nevadan Walter Van Tilburg Clark. The plot of the story: Two drifters are passing through a Western town, when news arrives that a local rancher has been murdered and his cattle stolen. The townspeople, joined by the drifters, form a posse to catch the perpetrators.

10 Mackenna's Gold Mackenna's Gold Product Image

Mackenna's Gold is based on the novel of the same name by Heck Allen, telling the story of how the lure of gold corrupts a diverse group of people. The movie was a box-office failure in North America, but went on to become a major overseas success, I personally enjoyed it, maybe the lack of known actors was the cause for this.

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