Growing up, we watched Westerns on television. These shows from the 1950’s provided bored kids from my generation with fun on summer afternoons. Although they offered plenty of action and romance, the television Westerns also gave us entertainment with clear-cut morality and an easy escape from the complexity of the growing digital age.
They may seem simplistic now, but Westerns like The Rifleman and Bonanza were based in a morality that even kids could grasp. The good guys wore white hats and had strong family values. The men were heroes who took care of their families and only shot the bad guys when they absolutely had to. Indeed, these shows provided me with plenty of excitement and a clear idea of good vs. evil. Evil may exist, but there is hope in the heroes who wear those white hats and an easy grin.
Now, Westerns have become more complex in their morality, perhaps more realistic, but less easy for a kid to find an idea of good and bad in their characters. This, of course, makes them more applicable to the modern viewpoint, but I think there is something to be said for the heroes that I knew as a kid. Those guys in white hats were clean-cut and slow-to-shoot, but they made a big impression on our view of the world and its own ideas of good and evil.