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25 Best Westerns Streaming [May 2022]

For as long as people have been making movies, they've been making movies about the American West. Some of the first moving pictures ever recorded were of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the 1890s (shot by Thomas Edison's own studio), followed shortly thereafter by 1903's "The Great Train Robbery" with its infamous fourth wall-breaking gunfire toward the audience.

In the century-plus that followed, the genre's popularity has peaked and plateaued. Westerns were part of Hollywood's Golden Age, then came spaghetti Westerns, and in recent years, the Revisionist Western has gained a foothold. No matter their tone or their take on the mythology of the time and place, Westerns are readymade crowd pleasers with their stunning vistas, heroes and villains on horseback, and high stakes. And if you're in the mood to watch a thrilling gunfight, a grueling cattle drive, or an examination of America's past, here are the best Westerns currently available to stream.

Updated on May 2, 2022: Just like that mysterious horseman who rode into town, Westerns come and go from streaming services all the time. So be sure to check back here each month to make sure you'll always know where to find the best Westerns available.

3:10 to Yuma - HBO Max

A remake released in 2007, "3:10 to Yuma" comes close to the 1957 original in terms of quality and historical relevance, but it will be more accessible and enjoyable to most audiences thanks to its pace, action, and A-list stars. Dan Evans owes money to a powerful man who's terrorizing his family and livestock. When he inadvertently involves himself in the arrest of a notorious criminal, Ben Wade, he sees an opportunity to dig himself out of debt. Evans and three other men are charged with transporting the suspect to Contention, Arizona, where he'll board the titular train then face trial. But Dan's gamble that he can deliver the slippery and ruthless Wade may cost him his life. 

  • Starring: Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster
  • Director: James Mangold
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 122 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Netflix

"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" is an anthology film made of up of six separate stories, all of which make use of Western tropes, though they vary in the extent to which they're comedic or dramatic. In the title segment, a chipper singing cowboy wonders if he's overplayed his hand in cards and in life. Other vignettes tell of a convicted bandit trying to escape his death sentence, a traveling performer looking to improve his act, a prospector in search of fortune, an unbetrothed woman traversing the Oregon Trail, and five passengers on a stagecoach that may be headed for certain doom. Viewers will recognize the second chapter from a certain meme.

  • Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits
  • Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

City Slickers - HBO Max

Westerns can be deadly serious. It's refreshing when one like "City Slickers" comes along, loaded with gags and camaraderie instead of just bullets and corpses. Mitch, Ed, and Phil are approaching middle age and having crises about their mundane lives. Mitch hates his job, Phil hates his wife, and Ed's afraid of starting a family. They book a two-week experiential vacation for Mitch's birthday in which they'll drive a herd of cattle from New Mexico to Colorado with the help of a gruff but wise trail boss named Curly. The three friends are the kind of upper-middle class guys who are ill-suited to the task and are adventuring simply to find themselves. Of course, they get more adventure than they bargained for when their chaperoned excursion goes haywire. 

  • Starring: Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Jack Palance
  • Director: Ron Underwood
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Dances with Wolves - HBO Max

This Civil War-era epic was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven, including best picture. "Dances with Wolves" recounts the experiences of Lieutenant Dunbar, a frontier-loving Union war hero who requests a post as far west as the military will give him. As other men who manned the forts have been killed by the natives, Dunbar knows he's a target. As a result, he approaches the Lakota Sioux peacefully, and after some effort on the part of both parties (and after meeting and falling in love with the white adopted daughter of the tribe's healer), he learns to live among them. "Dances with Wolves" drew some mild criticism for being a white savior narrative that was imperfect in its use of Lakota language, but on the whole, it was a rapturously received watershed moment for Indigenous representation in the Western

  • Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
  • Director: Kevin Costner
  • Year: 1990
  • Runtime: 181 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Django Unchained - Netflix

This bloody entertaining film is the very definition of a Revisionist Western. "Django Unchained" is a hard-edged genre piece that openly references the movies that came before it (most specifically 1966's "Django"), but it switches the point of view in a way that upends the entire exercise of the Western. 

Django is a Black man in 1858, separated from his wife via the slave trade. A German dentist/bounty hunter named Schultz buys him and grants him his freedom, so long as he'll help apprehend a few outlaws with his inside knowledge of the plantations. Django learns the bounty hunter's trade from Schultz who, in turn, agrees to help Django find his wife. Their search leads to the estate of a demented slave owner, and these unlikely partners will need both their wits and their pistols to make it out alive. 

  • Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 165 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

The Harder They Fall - Netflix

"The Harder They Fall" remixes real historical characters with fictionalized situations, as well as homages to classic Westerns with modern filmmaking techniques and music. As a child, Nat Love witnesses the outlaw Rufus Buck shoot down his mother and father. 20 years later, Love's an outlaw in his own right and out for revenge, but first, he'll have to assemble a crew — including his old flame, Stagecoach Mary. But Buck's gang — including ultra-fast gunfighter Cherokee Bill — is back in the saddle too, hell-bent on protecting him. Meanwhile famed U.S. marshal Bass Reeves tries to keep the violence to a minimum ... but ultimately, things come to a head in a highly stylized epic showdown. 

Hell or High Water - Netflix

This contemporary neo-Western, written by "Yellowstone" creator Taylor Sheridan, is smart, subversive, timely, and well-acted. Toby and Tanner Howard just lost their mom, and they're about to lose their ranch too, as she took out a reverse mortgage and the bank wants to foreclose. When oil is found on the land, the brothers decide to commit a series of robberies so that the property stays in the family. Tanner, who's an ex-con, should be cut out for the job, except he's careless and hot-headed. Toby just wants to put this behind him and make things right with his estranged kids. All the while, they're being pursued by a savvy Texas Ranger working his last case before retirement. 

  • Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges
  • Director: David Mackenzie
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

The Mask of Zorro - Netflix

There's a lot of crossover between Westerns, action movies, and sword-and-sandal epics. "The Mask of Zorro" combines the best of all three. The Mexican War for Independence is raging, and Don Diego de la Vega — a Spanish nobleman who masquerades as Zorro — fights back against the oppression of the governor, Don Rafael Montero. When Montero deals him a fate worse than death, Diego hangs up his mask until — 20 years later — he crosses paths with a young thief who'd once done him a favor. The elder Zorro decides to train this young man as his replacement just as Montero (and a familiar face from his past) resurfaces. "The Mask of Zorro" is fun-for-all-ages throwback to classic cinema with an absolutely killer score. 

News of the World - HBO Max

In "News of the World," a former Confederate soldier named Captain Kidd is barely making a living traveling from town to town and reading the news to the locals. On the road, he stumbles upon a young white girl who only speaks Kiowa. He deduces that she's actually Joanna, a child who was kidnapped by the Kiowa some years back. Though at first he doesn't want the responsibility of returning her to her family, the absence of a representative from the Bureau of Indian Affairs means he has no choice. It's a thankless job, as Joanna doesn't really want to go home, and bad actors — from perverts to racists — are lurking everywhere. This subdued Western still features plenty of action, but it meditates on the role of media in times of crisis. 

No Country for Old Men - HBO Max

The Coen brothers won their best director Oscars for the best picture-winning "No Country for Old Men." As you might expect coming from the Coens, this Western crime thriller contains multitudes. Based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, "No Country for Old Men" is gorgeous to look at, as terrifying as any slasher, darkly but genuinely funny, deeply existential, yet still incredibly easy to digest. 

Llewelyn Moss is out hunting when he happens upon a drug deal gone very wrong. Rather than report the incident to police, he grabs a briefcase containing $2 million and arranges a rendezvous with his wife, Carla Jean. Unfortunately, both the local sheriff in charge of solving the crime and the unrelenting hitman hired to recover the money are smarter than Llewelyn, which means the odds aren't good that his plan (he doesn't have much of one) will come to fruition. 

  • Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
  • Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 122 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Once Upon a Time in the West - Paramount+

"Once Upon a Time in the West" is here representing the spaghetti Western in all its epic glory, complete with an acclaimed score by Ennio Morricone. The story revolves around an outlaw named Frank — a cold-blooded murderer played, shockingly, by nice guy Henry Fonda — who carries out dirty deeds for a railroad tycoon. When the businessman wants the highly prized Sweetwater Ranch, Frank kills property owner Brett McBain and pins the blame on the infamous outlaw Cheyenne. But things take a turn when a sex worker named Jill, who'd married McBain in secret, arrives as the rightful property owner. As these three titans swirl around each other, a mysterious man with a harmonica haunts them all ... and yes, he knows how to play and shoot.

  • Starring: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards
  • Director: Sergio Leone
  • Year: 1968
  • Runtime: 165 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Open Range - Hulu

Kevin Costner's "Open Range" isn't as groundbreaking as "Dances with Wolves," but it's still an expertly made Western with strong performances and brilliantly shot gunfights. Boss Spearman and hired hands Charley, Mose, and Button are driving a herd of cattle cross country. The group runs into trouble when they stop to let the cows graze in a town run by a savage land baron, Baxter, who despises open rangers trespassing on his property. When Baxter's men beat and jail Mose, Boss and Charley (who both have past lives they hoped to leave behind) have no choice but to confront Baxter and his posse head on. As things head for a showdown, the townspeople, including a local doctor and his beautiful sister, get drawn into the deadly drama. 

  • Starring: Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Annette Bening
  • Director: Kevin Costner
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

The Outlaw Josey Wales - HBO Max

15 years before "Unforgiven," Clint Eastwood directed and starred in this Civil War era Western that's still well regarded (although it does have problematic origins, as it's based on a novel written by a white supremacist). When the Union's Captain Terrill and his militants murder Josey's wife and children, the farmer joins the Confederacy, motivated solely by the need for revenge. The South surrenders, but Josey hasn't fulfilled his quest for vengeance, and — after a deadly scuffle in which he kills a swath of Union fighters with a Gatling gun — he finds himself on the run with a $5,000 bounty on his head. He seeks refuge in an abandoned ranch and makes alliances with the Comanche to try and stay alive long enough to address his unfinished business with Captain Terrill. 

  • Starring: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Year: 1976
  • Runtime: 135 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

The Power of the Dog - Netflix

Based on Thomas Savage's semi-autobiographical 1967 novel, "The Power of the Dog" is a slow-burn psychological thriller about the space between our public-facing identities and our true selves. Phil and George are the wealthy grown sons of socialites who bought land in Montana at the turn of the century. Though he's Princeton educated, Phil took to ranching and has maintained the property for 25 years with his brother, George, who keeps the books and has to constantly deal with Phil's brutal put-downs. But when George impulsively marries a local widow with an oddball teenage son, the brittle peace between them breaks for good. "The Power of the Dog" features an all-time Benedict Cumberbatch performance and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, with Jane Campion winning an Oscar for best director.

  • Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst
  • Director: Jane Campion
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The Proposition - Peacock

"The Proposition" is an Australian Western that comes loaded with just as much natural beauty, ugly violence, and edge-of-your-seat drama as the best of its American counterparts. Charlie Burns is one of three outlaw brothers and the de facto leader of his gang, as his older brother, Arthur, is a wanted man and has fled for the hills some time ago, and his younger brother, Mikey, isn't much more than a boy. When a sadistic police captain captures them, he holds Mikey prisoner but makes Charlie an ultimatum — track down and kill Arthur, and he'll grant them both their freedom. Charlie accepts but faces constant threats in the form of bounty hunters, Indigenous tribes, and his own deranged kin. 

  • Starring: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston
  • Director: John Hillcoat
  • Year: 2005
  • Runtime: 104 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Rango - HBO Max

"Rango" is the type of animated film that's probably more tailored to adult sensibilities than to kids, with its clever callbacks to Western tropes and its better-than-they-have-to-be voice cast and visuals. Rango is a pet chameleon ... well, he was until his terrarium fell out of his owner's car. Now he's stranded in the dessert with of all its wild flora and fauna, where he must find water and convince everyone of his toughness in order to survive. But the town where the water is supposed to be is actually suffering from a drought and frequent red-tailed hawk attacks, and they're in need of just the kind of macho leader that Rango has been advertising himself to be. 

The Searchers - HBO Max

Widely hailed as one of the greatest Westerns of all time, "The Searchers" follows the tragic tale of Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier and possible outlaw who returns home after many years away. When the Comanche kill most of his family members and escape with the rest as prisoners, Ethan dedicates himself to finding and recovering any survivors, particularly his niece, Debbie. He and Debbie's adopted brother search for years, but when they finally find her, Debbie's not so sure she wants to be rescued, especially by a man like her uncle. "The Searchers" is renowned for being one of the first Westerns to wrestle with its own protagonist's moral complexity in a way that can be viewed as being symbolic of the American West itself.

  • Starring: John Wayne, Natalie Wood, Jeffrey Hunter
  • Director: John Ford
  • Year: 1956
  • Runtime: 118 minutes
  • Rating: N/A
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Sisters Brothers - Hulu

"The Sisters Brothers" is just as off-beat as its title suggests. In the age of the Gold Rush, Charlie and Eli are brothers with the last name Sisters who work as the Commodore's strongmen. Charlie's a violent drunk who checks to see if his exploits have made him famous in every town they visit. Eli's a kind (by comparison) oaf who's concerned and a little jealous that he's not the one calling the shots. The Commodore has arranged for them and a private investigator named John Morris to apprehend a traveling scientist who claims he's invented a "divining solution" that will detect gold ore in water. But when they arrive at the meeting place, Morris and the scientist have already departed, intent on using any gold they find to start a utopian, anti-capitalist society.

  • Starring: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed
  • Director: Jacques Audiard
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Stagecoach - HBO Max

This Golden Age Western set the standard not just for future Westerns but, in many respects, for future action movies. "Stagecoach" — based on the short story "The Stage to Lordsburg" — tells of a group of strangers making the arduous and dangerous journey from Arizona Territory to a town in New Mexico. The passengers are quite a cast of characters, including a sex worker, an alcoholic doctor, a pregnant woman, and a dangerous gambler. And out there somewhere is the Ringo Kid, a recently escaped — yet surprisingly good-hearted — prisoner out for revenge and who's headed for the same destination.

  • Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, John Carradine
  • Director: John Ford
  • Year: 1939
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: N/A
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada - Amazon Prime Video

"The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" is modern, surrealist tale about immigration, inspired by a true story and William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying." Melquiades is an undocumented immigrant and neighbor to Pete Perkins. When Melquiades shoots a coyote who's menacing his goats, a border patrol agent named Mike Norton kills him in what he believes to be self-defense. In a panic, he buries the body, and when the corpse is found, the town sheriff buries it again ... as well as the story of the man's death, not wanting any trouble. However, Pete catches wind of what's happened and insists upon giving his friend a proper burial in his hometown across the border, and he insists — upon threat of violence — that Norton come along to pay penance. 

  • Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, January Jones
  • Director: Tommy Lee Jones
  • Year: 2005
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Tombstone - Hulu

In the early 1990s, dueling movies about the legendary shoot-out at the O.K. Corral — "Tombstone" and "Wyatt Earp" — were in development. Critics and audiences agreed that "Tombstone" was the victor. Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and his sickly friend Doc Holliday choose the town of Tombstone to settle down and open a saloon. It's not long before a gang who wears red sashes and calls themselves the Cowboys starts upsetting the peace. Earp had intended to put his gunslinging days behind him, but the townsfolk need him to defend Tombstone from the Cowboys, and in an atmosphere as lawless as Arizona in 1879, the tense situation won't be resolved by tactics like weapons bans or civilized trials. 

Toy Story 2 - Disney+

"Toy Story 2" isn't commonly thought of as a Western, but the boot fits. Not only does this animated classic (which is arguably the best in the "Toy Story" franchise) feature a cowboy, a cowgirl, a trusty steed, and a grizzly old prospector, it also contains a story within a story in "Woody's Roundup," and the plot itself is full of Western tropes. When Woody is kidnapped by the nefarious toy dealer, Al, his ragtag group of friends have to journey across dangerous, unfamiliar terrain to rescue him. But when Woody makes the acquaintance of the other toys in his set, he's surprised to learn he's actually a valuable piece of memorabilia, and he has to decide for himself if he can trust his newfound compatriots. 

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Joan Cusack, Tim Allen
  • Director: John Lasseter
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - HBO Max

"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is a hallmark of American cinema that directly inspired movies like Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" and Spike Lee's "Da 5 Bloods." In fact, this more than 70-year-old classic still holds up as well (if not better) than many modern-day Westerns. Two drifters — Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin — learn about gold mining from an old prospector at a flophouse. With nothing to lose, they strike out for the wilderness of Mexico with him, where they discover not only gold but danger in the form of bandits, Federales, and the depths of their own distrust and greed. 

  • Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
  • Director: John Huston
  • Year: 1948
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: N/A
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

True Grit - Netflix

"True Grit" is the rare remake that improves upon the original (here, a 1969 version starring John Wayne). It was rewarded for its efforts with 10 Oscar nominations and a $250 million haul at the box office. Teenage farmgirl Maddie hires Deputy Marshal Rooster Cogburn to track down a man named Tom Chaney. Chaney murdered her father as well as a state senator, so a Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf, is also on his tail. Maddie and LaBouef disagree about how Chaney should be brought to justice, and Cogburn is a nasty, unreliable drunk, so their partnership starts off rocky. But as they search hostile territory for their man and tangle with the Lucky Ned Pepper Gang, they slowly but surely develop an appreciation for each other. 

  • Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon
  • Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Unforgiven - HBO Max

A best picture winner and an unflinching tale of man's capacity for violence, "Unforgiven" distinguishes itself by being in conversation with the genre's history (there's a writer character documenting and debunking Wild West stories as they happen) and by avoiding many of its clichés. 

As for the plot, Will Munny is a widower living a quiet life on his struggling pig farm when a young gun approaches him about collecting a bounty. A girl at a brothel had her face slashed by two cowboys, and there's a $1,000 reward for anyone who can kill them. It turns out, in his pre-hog farming days, Will was a formidable gunslinger himself. He recruits another retired outlaw, and the trio sets off to bring the cruel cowboys to justice. But they're not the only ones after the money, and a sadistically brutal sheriff stands in everybody's way.