Join acclaimed western authors Johnny D. Boggs and David Morrell in this unique, online discussion on the far-reaching influence of the western film genre on media and culture, exploring the history behind some key features.

This program comes as a partnership with the Santa Fe Public Library System, recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read (NEA Big Read) grant initiative that showcases a diverse range of themes in programming centered around a book. Santa Fe’s selection is Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Santa Fe Public Library System is one of 78 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big  Read project between September 2019 and June 2020. The NEA presents NEA Big Read in partnershipwith Arts Midwest. Learn more about NEA Big Read & the Santa Fe Public Library System programming here.

Boggs and Morrell will discuss the thematic similarity amongst numerous western films and literature, exploring how the long-lasting genre has figured prominently in our lives. Films include The Magnificent Seven (1960), and Seven Samurai (1954), which is prominently featured in Urrea’s novel, amongst others. In preparation for this virtual event, audiences are encouraged to watch or revisit a list of films at their leisure via streaming platforms or from their local libraries, with the aforementioned highlighted as most pertinent.

Key Films:

The Magnificent Seven (1960): Available on Prime VideoSlingHulu, and other streaming services.
Seven Samurai (1954): Available on HBO MaxGoogle PlayPrime Video, and other streaming services.
Other Influences: The Dirty Dozen (1967), Young Guns (1988), A Bug’s Life (1998)
Mexican Westerns: Vera Cruz (1954), The Professionals (1966), The Wild Bunch (1969)

NEA Big Read is a program of the
National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


Johnny D. Boggs, winner of a record eight Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, has been praised by Booklist magazine as “among the best western writers at work today.” As a film historian, he is the author of The American West on FilmJesse James and the Movies, and Billy the Kid on Film, 1911–2012. Boggs also won a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City for Spark on the Prairie: The Trial of the Kiowa Chiefs and an Arkansiana Juvenile Award from the Arkansas Library Association for Poison Spring.

David Morrell is the author of First Blood, the award-winning novel in which Rambo originated. He has a Ph D in American literature from Penn State and was a full professor in the English department at the University of Iowa. Many of his bestselling novels are modern westerns that are set in the American Southwest, including the Santa Fe area, where he lives. A member of Western Writers of America, he writes frequently for its magazine, Roundup.