From Gunsmoke to Deadwood: why the US turns to the wild west in times of crisis

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Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres in the short-lived Firefly. Photograph: Allstar/Fox. In 2002, with George W Bush pushing for war in Iraq, two landmark TV westerns debuted, one set in the past, the other deep into the future, both of them united by a distrust of government and the rule of law.

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