Best Western Movies Based on Historical Events or People

We all love a good western movie don't we? They are action packed and often end in revenge and retribution at the hands of the hero. Most Westerns are obviously fictional, but here is a list of western movies based on true stories and historical events.
The Top Ten
1 Tombstone Tombstone Product Image

The film is loosely based on events in Tombstone, Arizona, including the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Earp Vendetta Ride, during the 1880s. It depicts a number of Western outlaws and lawmen, such as the Earp brothers, William Brocius, Johnny Ringo, and Doc Holliday.

The OK Corral gunfight might actually be the most well known event to have happened in the Wild West

2 The Alamo The Alamo Product Image

The Alamo, starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett, offers a generally accurate look at how the sacrifice of a few patriots ultimately led to the creation of the new Republic of Texas.

3 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Product Image

The movie is based on a book of the same name written by Dee Brown which is a 1970 non-fiction book that covers the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century. Be warned though, this movie is not for the faint of heart.

I watched this movie a few years ago and you are right, this movie is not for the faint of heart. It is at times very sad and makes you think a lot about the natives and what we did to them.

4 Hatfields & McCoys Hatfields & McCoys Product Image

Hatfields & McCoys is a 2012 American three-part Western television miniseries based on the Hatfield–McCoy feud which involved two rural American families of the West Virginia–Kentucky area along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in the years 1863–1891. This three-part movie is action packed and if you love western movies like me, you'll enjoy this.

5 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Product Image

The True Story of the famous outlaws, members of the Wild Bunch, inspired the 1969 movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

6 Jeremiah Johnson Jeremiah Johnson Product Image

I like this movie, although it is loosely based on the real life John "Liver Eating" Johnson. A very good and true accounting of his life during these times can be found in the book "Crow Killer".

7 Geronimo: An American Legend Geronimo: An American Legend Product Image

While this movie isn't completely historically accurate, it provides an accurate glimpse of what Geronimo and many others went through following the expansion of the United States into the Southwest.

8 The Revenant The Revenant Product Image

I didn't know this one was.

This is a great movie

9 Free State of Jones Free State of Jones Product Image

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Free State of Jones is a 2016 American historical war film inspired by the life of Newton Knight and his armed revolt against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, throughout the American Civil War.

I watched it on Netflix, very good.

10 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Product Image

As the title entails, the movie is based on the events of Jesse James' last bank robbery and death at the hands of Robert Ford.

The Contenders
11 Wyatt Earp (1994) Wyatt Earp (1994) Product Image

Wyatt Earp is a 1994 American biographical Western film which covers the lawman of the same name's life, from an Iowa farmboy, to a feared marshal, to the feud in Tombstone, Arizona that lead to the O.K. Corral gunfight.

12 True History of the Kelly Gang True History of the Kelly Gang Product Image

A film loosely based on the Ned Kelly and his gang of Bushrangers. It is different than the other films on this list as it takes place in Australia.

13 Young Guns Young Guns Product Image

Young Guns is a retelling of the adventures of Billy the Kid during the Lincoln County War, which took place in New Mexico during 1877–78.

14 The Searchers The Searchers Product Image

The film was based on a novel by Alan LeMay, who in turn based his book on the true-life story of Cynthia Ann Parker. As a nine-year-old girl, Parker was abducted by Comanche Indians from her prairie home in 1836 Texas.

A classic, didn't know it's based on a true story though, that's cool

15 Stolen Women, Captured Hearts Stolen Women, Captured Hearts Product Image

The film stars Janine Turner as Anna Morgan, a woman living on the plains of Kansas in 1868 who is kidnapped by a band of Lakota Indians. The story is loosely based on the real Anna Morgan who was taken by Cheyenne Indians for approximately one year before being returned to her husband. Their marriage was not a happy one and Anna is reportedly quoted as saying, "I often wished they had never found me." I recommend checking the movie's Wikipedia page for more info.

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