Godless: This Is the Most Accurate Western of Any TV Show

Even while Westerns have been a vital component of film history since the beginning, the genre has also enjoyed great success on television.

The thrilling, action-packed adventures frequently found in Western films were translated to the small screen by classic Western television series like Rawhide and Gunsmoke, which also allowed the characters to be developed far further than what could be fit into a two-hour movie.

The Shakespearean tragedy of David Milch’s work on Deadwood and the science fiction twists of Jonathan Nolan’s reboot of Westworld are just two examples of the numerous innovative reinventions that have occurred in Western television in the twenty-first century.

Even while Western television is frequently an exciting form of escape, prestige episodes rarely accurately portray the genre historically.

But the incredible 2017 Netflix miniseries Godless, which became the most accurate Western of all time, was based on historical truths concerning America’s frontier age.

What Is ‘Godless’ About?

Godless is a film that takes place twenty years after the American Civil War ends, and it centres on the quiet colony of La Belle, New Mexico, which is mainly shielded from the more significant border wars.

Godless (Credit: Netflix)

While searching for the infamous mercenary Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his group across the frontier, Marshal John Cooke (Sam Waterston) learns that the outlaw’s son-in-law, Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), betrayed him and was left for dead.

Roy is shocked to learn that all of La Belle’s inhabitants are women when they tend to his medical needs.

Even though the show has a lot of Western stereotypes, such as gunslingers, marshals, and outlaws, Godless is a much less glorified depiction of history than other Western television programs.

Creator of the series Scott Frank stated that he got started on the concept because he was fascinated by history and wanted to “create that world, work in period, and learn how people spoke.” Although Frank’s work is known for its meticulous attention to detail, Godless’ intricate plot structure enables it to shed light on the characters’ daily lives.

The bulk of Godless is about Roy readjusting to society, despite the narrative’s growing tension from Frank’s return to exact revenge on the people of La Belle. Godless examines how decisions are made in outlying settlements as Roy’s independence becomes a point of contention between the assertive widow Mary Agnes McNue (Merritt Weaver) and the rancher Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery).

Godless was based on in-depth research on the growth of small mining communities, even though Frank was interested in bringing back reoccurring themes found in the westerns of Preston Sturges and John Ford.

Godless (Credit: Netflix)

Frank travelled extensively in New Mexico, visiting many of the historical locations that served as inspiration for La Belle, after being inspired by Robert Altman’s 1971 western masterpiece McCabe & Mrs Miller.

Frank searched for more information on the realities these people faced and developed characters who could endure the difficult living conditions rather than beginning his script with the creation of his characters. Frank described it as a “reverse adaptation,” adding, “I wanted to explore and go deeper with a lot of the characters.”