Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Esteban Gomez

Second Advisor

Bonnie J. Clark

Third Advisor

Sheila E. Schroeder


Decolonization, Film-induced tourism, Identity, Intersectionality, Staged authenticity, Westerns


Old Tucson Studios is a theme park where film, tourism, and heritage all converge through the American Western genre. During national social change, Westerns increase in number to reflect national values and identity. Westerns that ally with landscapes and people are potentially the most powerful storytelling tool in mainstream media. My research shows that this paring of people and place creates a prevailing image in the audience’s memory. The results suggest that the current image of the West comes from films made between 1951-1970, despite there being newer Westerns. John Wayne and saguaro cactus are enduring images with historic, cultural, and pilgrimage-like importance. Through national identity/history/film, film-induced tourism, decolonization, and intersectionality. I explore the cycle of expectations between storytellers and the audience, the importance of building new Westerns for modern times, especially where audiences can experience it in person at Old Tucson Studios.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sarah Beals


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

145 p.


Museum studies, Cultural anthropology