The message of mythology:
It seems that for many of us, our contests have less to do with seeking "truth" and upholding right and disavowing wrong (admittedly tricky terms), than with financial survival. But exceptions make good stories. Take Sophocles' characters Antigone and her father Oedipus. As individuals, they place "truth" and "what they perceive as right" above their own physical well-being. Usually in doing so, these characters create a pathway to a better or "good society." In mythology, the individual's function in the creation of a orderly civilization is ongoing and often polarized. For instance, Thoreau saw the individual as the innate source of the State's power while Freud saw individualism as a dangerous adversary to the process of creating a civilized society. To the extent that you believe homo sapiens will do what is "right," without the necessity of coercion, is the degree to which you might align yourself with Thoreau or Freud.
The message of mythology is also represented in the dramatic tension between two other poles of explanation: the insistence that humans "make" what really counts on the one hand and the insistence that the natural world (and even nonhuman world of animals or gods) essentially defines what really counts. Mythology (in the best of times) insists on distinguishing between what is "made" (culture and science) and what is "real," or what is "of the Natural World." Such narratives lead us to an opposition between civilization and nature (and beyond). We first encounter this tension in the Epic of Gilgamesh--personified in the wrestling match between King Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the beast-like man. In Hollywood, for instance, this is the thematic setting of Sydney Pollack's film "The Electric Horseman." Sonny Steele finds himself lost in a world of incorporated materialism, his true identity obscured by a man-made reality of image and illusion, epitomized most saliently by the western city of Las Vegas itself and Ampco Corporation's transformation of Rising Star into a neon corporate logo. The drama underscores the grave problem of human identity, and how one best achieves it, not only for individuals but for entire cultures.
In "THE WESTERN," then, the wilderness (or the garden) is a refuge from the world of illusion and the consequent loss of primarily masculine identity perpetuated by civilization and, in this case, corporate society and government (at least as it may be perceived in the waning year of the Watergate decade, 1979).
Reversal of above : Female as Furies
Restriction of Freedom
Male as Patriarchal
In the Western, violence is the fault of evil or corrupt men; good men might be forced to use it in purging society of corruption. The aging hero embarks on a quest for a moral purpose. In this way, the mythology of "The West" discusses the meaning of utopia in America and therein continually redefines shifting perceptions of the "American Dream." Stories such as "Casablanca" and "The Electric Horseman," which can contain any number of different and similar ideologies, get passed on (in this case played up) with the conscious use of filmmaking designed to persuade others to accept a particular world view.