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The Western is a genre of fiction set in the American frontier between the California Gold Rush of 1849 and the closing of the frontier in 1890, and commonly associated with folk tales of the Western United States, particularly the Southwestern United States, as well as Northern Mexico and Western Canada.: 557
The frontier was commonly referred to as the "Old West" or the "Wild West" and depicted in Western media as a sparsely populated hostile region patrolled by cowboys, outlaws, sheriffs, and numerous other stock "gunslinger" characters. Western narratives often concern the gradual attempts to tame the crime-ridden American West using wider themes of justice, freedom, rugged individualism, manifest destiny, and the national history and identity of the United States.
Originating in vaquero heritage and Western fiction, the genre popularized the Western lifestyle, country-Western music, and Western wear globally. Throughout the history of the genre, it has seen popular revivals and been incorporated into various subgenres.