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This description can be used to describe any number of Westerns, but also other films such as Die Hard itself a loose reworking of High Noon and Akira Kurosawa 's Seven Samurai , which are frequently cited examples of films that do not take place in the American West but have many themes and characteristics common to Westerns.

Likewise, films set in the American Old West may not necessarily be considered "Westerns. Being period drama pieces, both the Western and samurai genre influenced each other in style and themes throughout the years.

Despite the Cold War , the Western was a strong influence on Eastern Bloc cinema, which had its own take on the genre, the so-called " Red Western " or "Ostern".

Generally these took two forms: either straight Westerns shot in the Eastern Bloc, or action films involving the Russian Revolution and civil war and the Basmachi rebellion.

An offshoot of the Western genre is the "post-apocalyptic" Western, in which a future society, struggling to rebuild after a major catastrophe, is portrayed in a manner very similar to the 19th-century frontier.

Many elements of space travel series and films borrow extensively from the conventions of the Western genre. This is particularly the case in the space Western subgenre of science fiction.

Gene Roddenberry , the creator of the Star Trek series, pitched his show as " Wagon Train to the stars" early on, but admitted later that this was more about getting it produced in a time that loved Western-themed TV series than about its actual content.

More recently, the space opera series Firefly used an explicitly Western theme for its portrayal of frontier worlds.

Anime shows like Cowboy Bebop , Trigun and Outlaw Star have been similar mixes of science fiction and Western elements. The science fiction Western can be seen as a subgenre of either Westerns or science fiction.

Elements of Western films can be found also in some films belonging essentially to other genres. For example, Kelly's Heroes is a war film, but action and characters are Western-like.

The character played by Humphrey Bogart in noir films such as Casablanca and To Have and Have Not —an individual bound only by his own private code of honor—has a lot in common with the classic Western hero.

In turn, the Western has also explored noir elements, as with the films Pursued and Sugar Creek. In many of Robert A. Heinlein 's books, the settlement of other planets is depicted in ways explicitly modeled on American settlement of the West.

For example, in his Tunnel in the Sky settlers set out to the planet "New Canaan", via an interstellar teleporter portal across the galaxy, in Conestoga wagons , their captain sporting mustaches and a little goatee and riding a Palomino horse—with Heinlein explaining that the colonists would need to survive on their own for some years, so horses are more practical than machines.

Stephen King 's The Dark Tower is a series of seven books that meshes themes of Westerns, high fantasy , science fiction and horror.

The protagonist Roland Deschain is a gunslinger whose image and personality are largely inspired by the " Man with No Name " from Sergio Leone 's films.

In addition, the superhero fantasy genre has been described as having been derived from the cowboy hero, only powered up to omnipotence in a primarily urban setting.

The Western genre has been parodied on a number of occasions, famous examples being Support Your Local Sheriff!

George Lucas 's Star Wars films use many elements of a Western, and Lucas has said he intended for Star Wars to revitalize cinematic mythology, a part the Western once held.

The Jedi , who take their name from Jidaigeki , are modeled after samurai, showing the influence of Kurosawa.

The character Han Solo dressed like an archetypal gunslinger, and the Mos Eisley cantina is much like an Old West saloon.

Meanwhile, films such as The Big Lebowski , which plucked actor Sam Elliott out of the Old West and into a Los Angeles bowling alley, and Midnight Cowboy , about a Southern-boy-turned-gigolo in New York who disappoints a client when he doesn't measure up to Gary Cooper , transplanted Western themes into modern settings for both purposes of parody and homage.

Western fiction is a genre of literature set in the American Old West , most commonly between the years of and The genre's popularity peaked in the s, due in part to the shuttering of many pulp magazines, the popularity of televised Westerns , and the rise of the spy novel.

Readership began to drop off in the mid- to late s and reached a new low in the s. Most bookstores, outside of a few Western states, now only carry a small number of Western novels and short story collections.

Literary forms that share similar themes include stories of the American frontier , the gaucho literature of Argentina , and tales of the settlement of the Australian Outback.

Television Westerns are a subgenre of the Western. When television became popular in the late s and s, TV Westerns quickly became an audience favorite.

As demand for the Western increased, new stories and stars were introduced. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp was the first Western television series written for adults, [47] premiering four days before Gunsmoke on September 6, The peak year for television Westerns was , with 26 such shows airing during primetime.

Future entries in the genre would incorporate elements from other genera, such as crime drama and mystery whodunit elements.

In the s and s, hour-long Westerns and slickly packaged made-for-TV movie Westerns were introduced, such as: Lonesome Dove and Dr.

Quinn, Medicine Woman. As well, new elements were once again added to the Western formula, such as the Western- science fiction show Firefly , created by Joss Whedon in Deadwood was a critically acclaimed Western series which aired on HBO from through Hell on Wheels , a fictionalized story of the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad , aired on AMC for five seasons between and A number of visual artists focused their work on representations of the American Old West.

American West-oriented art is sometimes referred to as "Western Art" by Americans. This relatively new category of art includes paintings, sculptures, and sometimes Native American crafts.

Initially, subjects included exploration of the Western states and cowboy themes. Frederic Remington and Charles M.

Russell are two artists who captured the "Wild West" on canvas. The popularity of Westerns extends beyond films, literature, television, and visual art to include numerous other media forms.

With anime and manga , the genre tends towards the Science fiction Western [e. The story follows racers in a transcontinental horse race, the "Steel Ball Run" race.

Western comics have included serious entries, such as the classic comics of the late s and early s namely Kid Colt, Outlaw , Rawhide Kid , and Red Ryder or more modern ones as Blueberry , cartoons, and parodies such as Cocco Bill and Lucky Luke.

In the s and s, Western comics leaned toward the Weird West subgenre, usually involving supernatural monsters, or Christian iconography as in Preacher.

However, more traditional Western comics are found throughout this period e. Western arcade games , computer games , role-playing games , and video games are often either straightforward Westerns or Western Horror hybrids.

Western radio dramas were very popular from the s to the s. Sixgun first broadcast in , Have Gun—Will Travel first broadcast in , and Gunsmoke first broadcast in Westerns have been showcased in short episodic web series.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Multimedia genre of stories set primarily in the American Old West. For other uses, see Western disambiguation.

For The Olympics song, see Western Movies. Play media. This section needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Main article: Weird West. Main article: Meat pie Western. Main article: Ostern. Main articles: Spaghetti Western and Zapata Western.

Main article: Western fiction. Main articles: Westerns on television and List of Westerns on television. Main article: Artists of the American West.

Bascom Frederic Remington Charles Russell. Wild West Movies. John Ford and the American West. New York: Harry Abrams Inc.

December 2, Straight Dope. Retrieved October 4, July 21, Archived from the original on October 6, The Psychology of the Western. American Film Institute.

Retrieved Computer Gaming World editorial. October Archived from the original on 2 December Retrieved 16 November BBC News.

Retrieved 1 November Everson The Western: From Silents to Cinerama. New York: Bonanza Books. The New York Times. Archived from the original on Chicago Reader.

Archived from the original on September 29, Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 25 September The Playlist.

Archived from the original on April 12, Retrieved April 12, United States: Local iQ. Archived from the original on 3 April Retrieved 31 May April 14, Retrieved October 11, India Today.

The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved December 28, Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May IB Tauris.

The Daily Telegraph. Senses of Cinema. Far Cry from the Original Site. Archived from the original on November 3, Retrieved December 20, Not From 'Round Here The American Western.

Edinburgh University Press. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 20, Cinema Journal. The West of the Imagination. New York: Norton.

This audio file was created from a revision of the article " Western genre " dated , and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article.

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Singing Guns - WESTERN MOVIE in Full Length - starring Walter Brennan - Action Film - Free Movie

Western is a genre of fiction set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the Western United States , which is styled the "Old West".

Its stories commonly center on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter [1] armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse.

Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear Stetson hats, neckerchief bandannas , vests, spurs, cowboy boots , and buckskins alternatively dusters.

Recurring characters include the aforementioned cowboys, Native Americans , Spaniards , Mexicans , bandits, lawmen, bounty hunters , outlaws , gamblers , soldiers especially mounted cavalry, such as buffalo soldiers , and settlers farmers, ranchers, and townsfolk.

Westerns often stress the harshness of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape of deserts and mountains.

Often, the vast landscape plays an important role, presenting a "mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West.

Many Westerns use a stock plot of depicting a crime, then showing the pursuit of the wrongdoer, ending in revenge and retribution, which is often dispensed through a shootout or quick-draw duel.

The Western has been recognized as the most popular Hollywood film genre of the early 20th century through the s. Western films first became well-attended in the s.

John Ford 's landmark Western film Stagecoach became one of the biggest hits of that year, and made John Wayne a mainstream movie star.

Classic Westerns such as these have been the inspiration for various films about Western-type characters in contemporary settings, such as Junior Bonner , set in the s, and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada , set in the 21st century.

The Western genre sometimes portrays the conquest of the wilderness and the subordination of nature in the name of civilization or the confiscation of the territorial rights of the original, Native American, inhabitants of the frontier.

These honor codes are often played out through depictions of feuds or individuals seeking personal revenge or retribution against someone who has wronged them e.

This Western depiction of personal justice contrasts sharply with justice systems organized around rationalistic, abstract law that exist in cities, in which social order is maintained predominately through relatively impersonal institutions such as courtrooms.

The popular perception of the Western is a story that centers on the life of a semi-nomadic wanderer, usually a cowboy or a gunfighter.

In some ways, such protagonists may be considered the literary descendants of the knights errant which stood at the center of earlier extensive genres such as the Arthurian Romances.

And like knights errant, the heroes of Westerns frequently rescue damsels in distress. Similarly, the wandering protagonists of Westerns share many characteristics with the ronin in modern Japanese culture.

The Western typically takes these elements and uses them to tell simple morality tales, although some notable examples e. Westerns often stress the harshness and isolation of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape.

Western films generally have specific settings such as isolated ranches, Native American villages, or small frontier towns with a saloon.

Oftentimes, these settings appear deserted and without much structure. Apart from the wilderness, it is usually the saloon that emphasizes that this is the Wild West : it is the place to go for music raucous piano playing , women often prostitutes , gambling draw poker or five card stud , drinking beer or whiskey , brawling and shooting.

In some Westerns, where civilization has arrived, the town has a church, a general store, a bank and a school; in others, where frontier rules still hold sway, it is, as Sergio Leone said, "where life has no value".

The American Film Institute defines Western films as those "set in the American West that [embody] the spirit, the struggle and the demise of the new frontier.

Protagonists ride between dusty towns and cattle ranches on their trusty steeds. Western films were enormously popular in the silent film era With the advent of sound in , the major Hollywood studios rapidly abandoned Westerns, [10] leaving the genre to smaller studios and producers.

These smaller organizations churned out countless low-budget features and serials in the s. By the late s, the Western film was widely regarded as a "pulp" genre in Hollywood, but its popularity was dramatically revived in by major studio productions such as Dodge City starring Errol Flynn , Jesse James with Tyrone Power , Union Pacific with Joel McCrea , Destry Rides Again featuring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich , and the release of John Ford's landmark Western adventure Stagecoach , which became one of the biggest hits of the year.

Wayne had been introduced to the screen ten years earlier as the leading man in director Raoul Walsh 's widescreen The Big Trail , which failed at the box office, due in part to exhibitors' inability to switch over to widescreen during the Depression.

After the Western's renewed commercial successes in the late s, the popularity of the Western continued to rise until its peak in the s, when the number of Western films produced outnumbered all other genres combined.

Western films often depict conflicts with Native Americans. While early Eurocentric Westerns frequently portray the "Injuns" as dishonorable villains, the later and more culturally neutral Westerns gave Native Americans a more sympathetic treatment.

Other recurring themes of Westerns include Western treks e. The Big Trail or perilous journeys e. Stagecoach or groups of bandits terrorizing small towns such as in The Magnificent Seven.

Early Westerns were mostly filmed in the studio, as in other early Hollywood films, but when location shooting became more common from the s, producers of Westerns used desolate corners of Arizona , California , Colorado , Kansas , Montana , Nevada , New Mexico , Oklahoma , Texas , Utah , or Wyoming.

These settings gave filmmakers the ability to depict vast plains, looming mountains and epic canyons. Productions were also filmed on location at movie ranches.

Often, the vast landscape becomes more than a vivid backdrop; it becomes a character in the film. After the early s, various wide screen formats such as Cinemascope and VistaVision used the expanded width of the screen to display spectacular Western landscapes.

John Ford 's use of Monument Valley as an expressive landscape in his films from Stagecoach to Cheyenne Autumn "present us with a mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West, embodied most memorably in Monument Valley, with its buttes and mesas that tower above the men on horseback, whether they be settlers, soldiers, or Native Americans".

Author and screenwriter Frank Gruber described seven plots for Westerns: [12] [13]. Gruber said that good writers used dialogue and plot development to develop these basic plots into believable stories.

In the s and s, the Western was reinvented with the revisionist Western. Fenin and William K. Everson point out that the "Edison company had played with Western material for several years prior to The Great Train Robbery.

So popular was the genre that he soon faced competition from Tom Mix and William S. The film is filled with bizarre characters and occurrences, use of maimed and dwarf performers, and heavy doses of Christian symbolism and Eastern philosophy.

Rosenbaum describes the Acid Western as "formulating a chilling, savage frontier poetry to justify its hallucinated agenda"; ultimately, he says, the Acid Western expresses a counterculture sensibility to critique and replace capitalism with alternative forms of exchange.

Charro Westerns , often featuring musical stars as well as action, have been a standard feature of Mexican cinema since the s.

In the s and s, these were typically films about horsemen in rural Mexican society, displaying a set of cultural concerns very different from the Hollywood meta-narrative, but the overlap between "charro" movies and Westerns became more apparent in the s and s.

This subgenre is imitative in style in order to mock, comment on, or trivialize the Western genre's established traits, subjects, auteurs' styles, or some other target by means of humorous, satiric, or ironic imitation or parody.

A prime example of Comedy Western includes The Paleface , which makes a satirical effort to "send-up Owen Wister's novel The Virginian and all the cliches of the Western from the fearless hero to the final shootout on main street.

The result was The Paleface which features a cowardly hero known as "Painless" Peter Potter Bob Hope , an inept dentist who often entertains the notion that he's a crack sharpshooter and accomplished Indian fighter".

Also known as Neo-Westerns, these films have contemporary U. For the most part, they still take place in the American West and reveal the progression of the Old West mentality into the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

This subgenre often features Old West-type characters struggling with displacement in a "civilized" world that rejects their outdated brand of justice.

Taylor Sheridan 's filmography can be used as a template to identify what it means to be a neo-western film , [25] with three identifying themes.

First is the lack of rules, with morals guided by the character's or audience's instincts of right and wrong rather than by governance.

The second is characters searching for justice. The third theme, characters feeling remorse, connects the neo-western film to the broader Western genre , reinforcing a universal theme that consequences come with actions.

Pakula 's Comes a Horseman ; J. Likewise, the television series Breaking Bad , which takes place in modern times, features many examples of Western archetypes.

According to creator Vince Gilligan , "After the first Breaking Bad episode, it started to dawn on me that we could be making a contemporary western.

So you see scenes that are like gunfighters squaring off, like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef —we have Walt and others like that.

The precursor to these [ citation needed ] was the radio series Tales of the Texas Rangers — , with Joel McCrea , a contemporary detective drama set in Texas, featuring many of the characteristics of traditional Westerns.

Zachariah featured appearances and music supplied by rock groups from the s, including the James Gang [27] and Country Joe and the Fish as "The Cracker Band.

The epic Western is a subgenre of the Western that emphasizes the story of the American Old West on a grand scale.

One of the grandest films in this genre is Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West , which shows many operatic conflicts centered on control of a town while utilizing wide scale shots on Monument Valley locations against a broad running time.

Euro-Westerns are Western genre films made in Western Europe. The term can sometimes, but not necessarily, include the Spaghetti Western subgenre see below.

Several Euro-Western films, nicknamed Sauerkraut Westerns [29] because they were made in Germany and shot in Yugoslavia , were derived from stories by novelist Karl May and were film adaptations of May's work.

Fantasy Westerns mixed in fantasy settings and themes, and may include fantasy mythology as background. An example is Distant Drums starring Gary Cooper.

A developing subgenre, [ citation needed ] with roots in films such as Curse of the Undead and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula , which depicts the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid fighting against the notorious vampire.

Undead Nightmare , an expansion to Red Dead Redemption is an example of a video game in this genre, telling the tale of a zombie outbreak in the Old West.

Bone Tomahawk one of the most recent entries in the genre received wide critical acclaim for its chilling tale of cannibalism but, like many other movies in the genre, it wasn't a commercial success.

Thazhvaram , the Malayalam film directed by Bharathan and written by noted writer M. Vasudevan Nair , perhaps most resembles the Spaghetti Westerns in terms of production and cinematic techniques.

Kodama Simham , a Telugu action film starring Chiranjeevi and Mohan Babu was one more addition to the Indo Western genre and fared well at the box office.

Takkari Donga , starring Telugu Maheshbabu, was applauded by critics but an average runner at box office. Quick Gun Murugun , an Indian comedy film which spoofs Indian Western movies, is based on a character created for television promos at the time of the launch of the music network Channel [V] in , which had cult following.

While many of these mash-ups e. Osterns , also known as "Red Western"s, are produced in Eastern Europe. They were popular in Communist Eastern European countries and were a particular favorite of Joseph Stalin , and usually portrayed the American Indians sympathetically, as oppressed people fighting for their rights, in contrast to American Westerns of the time, which frequently portrayed the Indians as villains.

Osterns frequently featured Gypsies or Turkic people in the role of the Indians, due to the shortage of authentic Indians in Eastern Europe.

He became honorary chief of the Sioux tribe, when he visited the United States in the s and the television crew accompanying him showed the tribe one of his films.

American actor and singer Dean Reed , an expatriate who lived in East Germany , also starred in several Ostern films. The most rare of the Western subgenres, pornographic Westerns use the Old West as a background for stories primarily focused on erotica.

Sweet Savage starred Aldo Ray , a veteran actor who had appeared in traditional Westerns, in a non-sex role.

Among videogames, Custer's Revenge is an infamous example, considered to be one of the worst video games of all time.

First used in the publicity of the film Tampopo. The term is used to describe Western style films set in Asia.

After the early s, many American filmmakers began to question and change many traditional elements of Westerns, and to make Revisionist Westerns that encouraged audiences to question the simple hero-versus-villain dualism and the morality of using violence to test one's character or to prove oneself right.

One major revision was the increasingly positive representation of Native Americans , who had been treated as "savages" in earlier films.

A few earlier Revisionist Westerns gave women more powerful roles, such as Westward the Women starring Robert Taylor.

Another earlier work encompassed all these features, The Last Wagon In it, Richard Widmark played a white man raised by Comanches and persecuted by whites , with Felicia Farr and Susan Kohner playing young women forced into leadership roles.

The science fiction Western places science fiction elements within a traditional Western setting. John Jakes 's "Six Gun Planet" takes place on a future planet colonized by people consciously seeking to recreate the Old West with cowboys riding robot horses Fallout: New Vegas is an example of a video game that follows this format, with futuristic technology and genetic mutations placed among the Western themes and desert sprawl of the Mojave Wasteland.

The Space Western or Space Frontier is a subgenre of science fiction which uses the themes and tropes of Westerns within science fiction stories.

Subtle influences may include exploration of lawless frontiers in deep space , while more overt influences may feature literal cowboys in outer space who use ray guns and ride robotic horses.

Another example is the Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop. The classic Western genre has also been a major influence on science fiction films such as the original Star Wars movie of , with 's Solo: A Star Wars Story and 's Star Wars: The Mandalorian more directly featuring Western tropes.

During the s and s, a revival of the Western emerged in Italy with the " Spaghetti Westerns " also known as "Italo-Westerns".

Spaghetti Westerns were characterized by the presence of more action and violence than the Hollywood Westerns.

Also, the protagonists usually acted out of more selfish motives money or revenge being the most common than in the classical Westerns.

The Western films directed by Sergio Leone were felt by some to have a different tone than the Hollywood Westerns.

Eastwood, previously the lead in the television series Rawhide , unexpectedly found himself catapulted into the forefront of the film industry by Leone's A Fistful of Dollars the first in the Dollars Trilogy.

The Snow Western subgenre is a Western based during midwinter to late winter, and set in the continental United States. It is a more rare Western, as most focus during warm weather or areas where it doesn't snow.

The Weird Western subgenre blends elements of a classic Western with other elements. The Wild Wild West television series, television movies, and film adaptation blend the Western with steampunk.

The Jonah Hex franchise also blends the Western with superhero elements. The film Western Religion , by writer and director James O'Brien , introduces the devil into a traditional wild west setting.

The Old Man Logan graphic novel combines the elements of superhero and post-apocalyptic fiction with Western.

The Tracker is a archetypal of this form of Australian Western, with signature scenes of harsh desert environments, and exploration of the themes of rough justice, colonial exploitation and the thirst for justice at all costs.

Others in this category include The Proposition and Sweet Country. Mystery Road is an example of a modern Australian western, and Mad Max has inspired many futurist dystopian examples of the Australian western such as The Rover.

In the s academic and critical attention to cinema as a legitimate art form emerged. With the increased attention, film theory was developed to attempt to understand the significance of film.

From this environment emerged in conjunction with the literary movement an enclave of critical studies called genre studies. This was primarily a semantic and structuralist approach to understanding how similar films convey meaning.

One of the results of genre studies is that some [ who? For example, a very typical Western plot is that an eastern lawman heads west, where he matches wits and trades bullets with a gang of outlaws and thugs, and is aided by a local lawman who is well-meaning but largely ineffective until a critical moment when he redeems himself by saving the hero's life.

This description can be used to describe any number of Westerns, but also other films such as Die Hard itself a loose reworking of High Noon and Akira Kurosawa 's Seven Samurai , which are frequently cited examples of films that do not take place in the American West but have many themes and characteristics common to Westerns.

Likewise, films set in the American Old West may not necessarily be considered "Westerns. Being period drama pieces, both the Western and samurai genre influenced each other in style and themes throughout the years.

Despite the Cold War , the Western was a strong influence on Eastern Bloc cinema, which had its own take on the genre, the so-called " Red Western " or "Ostern".

Generally these took two forms: either straight Westerns shot in the Eastern Bloc, or action films involving the Russian Revolution and civil war and the Basmachi rebellion.

An offshoot of the Western genre is the "post-apocalyptic" Western, in which a future society, struggling to rebuild after a major catastrophe, is portrayed in a manner very similar to the 19th-century frontier.

Many elements of space travel series and films borrow extensively from the conventions of the Western genre.

This is particularly the case in the space Western subgenre of science fiction. Gene Roddenberry , the creator of the Star Trek series, pitched his show as " Wagon Train to the stars" early on, but admitted later that this was more about getting it produced in a time that loved Western-themed TV series than about its actual content.

More recently, the space opera series Firefly used an explicitly Western theme for its portrayal of frontier worlds.

Anime shows like Cowboy Bebop , Trigun and Outlaw Star have been similar mixes of science fiction and Western elements. The science fiction Western can be seen as a subgenre of either Westerns or science fiction.

Elements of Western films can be found also in some films belonging essentially to other genres. For example, Kelly's Heroes is a war film, but action and characters are Western-like.

The character played by Humphrey Bogart in noir films such as Casablanca and To Have and Have Not —an individual bound only by his own private code of honor—has a lot in common with the classic Western hero.

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Please click the link below to receive your verification email. Cancel Resend Email. Add Article. Western Critics Consensus Western earns the viewer's attention with an unpredictable, patiently told tale that evokes the spirit of the titular genre while adding its own unique touches.

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The foreign land awakens the men's sense of adventure, but they are also confronted with their own prejudice and mistrust due to the language barrier and cultural differences.

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