The Best Western Short Stories
Classic Western stories take us back to 18th-century America, when settlers were venturing westward in the name of discovery and the American Dream. These are often tales of righteous cowboys or pioneers facing both natural and man-made challenges in the Wild West.
From perilous duels to encounters with Native Americans, the ideas behind Western stories are, of course, long outdated. But that does not mean that the atmospheric settings of the Great Plains and iconic dusty towns under the scorching sun are no longer enjoyable! Modern Western stories use these mesmerizing surroundings and breathe new life into them, spinning old tropes or creating new devices altogether.
Introducing new, nuanced characters, like indigenous people who didn’t get much of a say before, or delving into the dark side of this glorious exploration, are stories like Louise Erdrich’s The Round House and Patrick DeWitt’s The Brother’s Sisters. Such Western tales go to show that stories in this category can go beyond stereotypical lasso-throwing action: indeed, they can delve headfirst into the complexities and diversity of life in this time and place.
Looking for some Western short stories?
Check out our collection of Western shorts submitted to our weekly contests. Written by promising authors, these stories demonstrate skillful command of language to flesh out rustic sceneries, setting the tone for whatever adventure may come. On top of the list are Western short stories that stand out against hundreds of other submissions sent to us in a particular week.
If you’ve got an enchanting tale to tell, join us in upcoming contests. They’re free to join, and you may even walk away with a cash prize — plus the chance to appear in Prompted, our new literary magazine.