This Independent Study examines how the mythic “Wild West” has been portrayed in American culture through a business perspective. It specifically analyzes the towns of Abilene, Dodge City, and Deadwood in relation to this topic. Many western towns went through a period of commercial success in the latter half of the 19th century. As they declined, new forms of entertainment emerged in American culture through dime novels and Wild West Shows, experienced massive commercial success. These forms of entertainment, often set in the American West, aggrandized the violence, chaos, and heroism that occurred in these spaces in order to increase their profits. The immense success that these productions generated encouraged a continued perpetuation of these mythic themes into the 20th century and the modern day. Eventually, western towns embraced their mythic histories and used them to cultivate tourist attractions in an attempt to generate profit. This Independent Study draws on existing scholarship, newspaper articles, films, tourist reviews, and a variety of other works to demonstrate the close connection between the mythic West and western towns.


Roche, Jeff



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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