Western Psychogeography

The element that most clearly defines the western is the symbolic landscape in which it takes place and the influence this landscape has on the character and actions of the hero. This is, I think, why this particular formula has come to be known by a geographical term… [This] symbolic landscape is a field of action that centers on the point of encounter between civilization and wilderness, settled society and lawless openness.

— John G. Cawelti