This book describes the evolution of the Western cowboy hero as a mythic person created and propagated by dime novels, pulp fiction, television and Hollywood movies. The expectations and demands of readers, viewers, and movie makers have all influenced the public perception of the Western hero. As a result, business interests have commercialized the Western past as publishers and studios have tried to make their image of the West be the most compelling to ensure the largest audience. Because many of our contemporary perceptions of the Western hero have come to us from Hollywood, much of the book discusses his changing image in the movies. The first chapter presents an overview of the Western hero. The rest of the chapters trace the image of the hero and his place in the fictional West from early novels and movies to the present, and discuss how his image has evolved due to changing audience expectations and economic pressures on various media to create a profitable product.