By Martine Jansen
Though Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller carries generic elements of a Western, this essay argues that the film subverts the traditional Western by telling a story of the American Old West from an early 1970s perspective. Both the male and female protagonist of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, as well as the unusual plot of the film, illustrate a deviation from generic conventions.
According to some scholars, this break from tradition is caused by emerging cultural changes in society. McCabe & Mrs. Miller displays at least two of these processes: the clashing social, cultural, and political conditions of the 1960s, and the sexual revolution. McCabe & Mrs. Miller veers away from what is expected which makes the film not only stand out but also go down as one of the most moving films in ‘Western’ history.
You can read the entire essay on McCabe & Mrs. Miller here.