Westerns have their own logic, a formula as tightly controlled as Greek tragedy, and a truly great Western manages to breathe within those cast-iron confines. The worst are simple horse operas, morality tales wrapped in shoot 'em up conventions, enjoyable as a feedbag of popcorn but just as nourishing, but the best westerns are grim and dark and wrestle with fate. They are fearless, illuminating, mythic. Aristotle, who defined tragedy for the ages, would have loved "The Wild Bunch."
The Onion gives us a list of some truly grim Westerns:
I'm looking forward to seeing the remake of "3:10 to Yuma." How about you?