“City Slickers” is actually a crossover film, combining the comedy and western genres. Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) turns a midlife crisis into an adventure after his friends gift him a birthday trip to participate in a cattle drive in the Southwest.
A major comedy ensues when Robbins, who is accustomed to the big city, is forced to adapt to the ways of Western life. To this day, the film is still considered one of Crystal’s best comedies.
The Proposition (John Hilcoat, 2005)
Although it is actually set in the Australian Outback, the plot of "The Proposition" can still qualify as a western. The story opens with an infamous outlaw, Charlie Burns (Guy Pierce), who has been apprehended by Captain Stanley Morris (Ray Winstone).
With all of his posse dead except his younger brother, Burns is given an ultimatum by Morris: find and kill his older brother (also an outlaw), or his younger brother will be killed. What unfolds expands beyond the plot of a traditional western into the drama of family dynamics.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
In an unusual plotline, a lady of the night, Constance Miller (Julie Christie), and a gambler, John McCabe (Warren Beatty), decide to partner in a “business” venture. The pair open a combination tavern/brothel in hopes of making a lot of money but instead encounter some unforeseen problems when they turn down another business offer from the Harrison Shaughnessy Mining Company.
McCabe must then use his grittier skills to protect himself and his new business from the mining company’s thugs.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (Asa Earl Carter, 1976)
Along with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood was another big star in the Western genre. In the film "The Outlaw Josey Wales," Eastwood played the role of a farmer who, after his family is killed by Union soldiers, decides to become a Confederate soldier.
The film became a character study of a man who exits ordinary life, transforming into an outlaw, on the run from bounty hunters, the Comanche Indians, and even those close to him, all in the name of vengeance.
Sweetgrass (Llisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2009)
The documentary "Sweetgrass" took viewers deep inside the daily lives of shepherds in Montana as they take care of their flocks. It may sound like a simple task, but the herders were responsible for caring for the helpless animals as they took them through treacherous terrain where predators waited for an easy meal.
They had been carrying on the tradition since the 1800s, guiding the flock on horseback and with the help of herding dogs.