It's no secret that Hollywood's depiction of the Old West is extremely narrow and, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly white.
For decades, audiences have been inundated with so many images of rugged white cowboys that the mere mention of Black gunslingers throughout history has raised eyebrows. And while stars like Henry Fonda and Clint Eastwood seem to embody the cowboy era, the reality is that Hollywood built a whitewashed version of the Old West, completely ignoring the true stories of cowboys of color.
It was this gross misrepresentation that inspired British artist and director Jeymes Samuel to make Netflix's new and groundbreaking Western, The Harder They Fall, which tells the story of famous cowboy Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) as he seeks revenge against a notorious criminal who murdered his parents. While discussing his reasons for creating this fictionalized story, Samuel explained, "Every time I tell people there were Black people in the Old West, people would look at me like I'm absolutely crazy. There were decades of the Old West with all of these amazing characters. So I assembled them all like superheroes and put them in one place at one time to tell this story."
The end result is a dazzling, colorful spectacle that puts it in the same league as Marvel's Black Panther—a prime example of how Black narratives can pave the way for more representation and inclusion in film.