Most film critics point to classic conflicts—good versus evil, right versus wrong, civilization versus savagery—as defining themes of the American Western. In this provocative examination of Westerns, Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heumann argue for a more expansive view that moves beyond traditional conflicts to encompass environmental themes and struggles. Beginning with an analysis of two iconic Westerns, Shane and The Searchers, Murray and Heumann identify the environmental dichotomies—previously overlooked by critics—that are broached in both films, and they clarify the history that lies behind the environmental debates in these films and many others. The conflicts these movies address grow out of differing views of progress, frequently in relation to technology. The authors show that such binary oppositions tend to blur when examined closely, demonstrating that environmental issues are often more complex than we realize.