Western Heritage Award

The Western Heritage Awards are given annually by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in a variety of categories.

 
2009
Appaloosa
1880s, the American West. Randall Bragg is a rich landowner who is wanted for murdering the town marshal. Lawman Virgil Cole and his deputy Everett Hitch are two friends who are hired to defend a lawless town from the murderous rancher. Their efforts become complicated and their friendship is tested when a young widow arrives in town. Directed by and starring Ed Harris. R
 
2008
3:10 to Yuma
Arizona in the late 1800s. Infamous outlaw Ben Wade and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans, struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other's respect. But with Wade's outfit on their trail, and dangers at every turn, the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man's destiny. Directed by James Mangold. Starring Russell Crowe & Christian Bale. R
 
2007
Truce

 
2006
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Pete Perkins is a veteran cowboy who embodies the values of the old west, living in a small Texas town bordering the U.S. and Mexico. He hires Melquiades Estrada as a ranch hand and quickly befriends the man. But when Estrada is gunned down under mysterious circumstances, Perkins takes justice into his own hands. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones. Starring Tommy Lee Jones. R
 
2005

No award given

 
2004
Open Range
Boss Spearman, a rugged old-timer, free grazes cattle. He and Charley have been partners for ten years. The pair and their employees, Mose and Buttons, are driving their cattle across the West. Mose is attacked and thrown in jail during a visit to a town. The local cattle rancher, Baxter, wants the free grazers off his land and when Boss and Charley retrieve Mose, they are warned that they have until the next day to be out of the area. Charley confesses his past as a killer during the Civil War and strikes up a tentative romance with Sue, the sister of the town doctor. Directed by Kevin Costner. Starring Kevin Coster & Robert Duvall. Based on the book Open Range Men by Lauran Paine. R
2003
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Join Spirit , a young wild mustang, as he sets out against impossible odds to regain his freedom and save his homeland. On his courageous journey across the American frontier, Spirit forms a remarkable friendship with a Lakota brave, outwits a squadron of soldiers, and falls for a paint mare named Rain. Directed by Kelly Asbury & Lorna Cook. Produced by DreamWorks SKG. G
 
2000 - 2002

No award given

 
1999
Hi-Lo Country
 
1996 - 1998

No award given

1995
Legends of the Fall
An epic Western saga about a woman and the three sons of a Montana rancher who love her, told against the backdrop of World War I. Directed by Edward Zwick. Starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, & Aidan Quinn. Based on the book Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. R
1994 Geronimo: An American Legend
Betrayed by the Army's legendary "Indian fighter," General George Crook, Geronimo leads a small band of warriors in escape, but is pursued by a principled officer, a grizzled army scout, and a gung-ho West Point graduate. Directed by Walter Hill. Starring Jason Patric, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, & Wes Studi. PG-13
1993
Unforgiven
An ex-gunslinger is drawn back into his murderous past when a bounty is put out to avenge an attack on a frontier town prostitute. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, & Richard Harris. R
 
1992
Thousand Pieces of Gold
1991
Dances with Wolves
Rewarded for his heroism in the Civil War, Lt. John Dunbar wants to see the American frontier before it is gone. He is assigned to an abandoned fort, where a Sioux tribe is his only neighbor. Directed by Kevin Costner. Starring Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, & Graham Greene. Based on the book Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake. PG-13
 
1990
No award given
1989
Young Guns
The year is 1878, Lincoln County. John Tunstall, a British ranchowner, hires six rebellious boys as "regulators" to protect his ranch against the ruthless Santa Fe Ring. When Tunstall is killed in an ambush, the Regulators, declare war on the Ring. As their vendetta turns into a bloody rampage, they are branded outlaws, becoming the objects of the largest manhunt in Western history. Directed by Christopher Cain. Starring Emilio Estevez & Kiefer Sutherland. R
 
1985 - 1988

No award given

 
1984
Never Cry Wolf
An unforgettable odyssey of self-discovery and startling adventure begins as Tyler, a young, inexperienced biologist, is deposited alone onto a frozen Arctic wasteland. Once settled, he struggles not only to endure the forces of nature, but also to learn as much as he can about the mysterious and misconstrued habits of the wolves he has been sent to study. Directed by Carroll Ballard. Starring Charles Martin Smith & Brian Dennehy. PG
 
1982 - 1983
No award given
 
1981
Heartland
In 1910 Elinore Randall, a widow, and her seven-year-old daughter travel by train to face two great unknowns-- a strange land and life with a man they have never met. Elinore has contracted by mail to keep house for Clyde Stewart, a rancher living in the remote frontier near Burntfork, Wyoming. Captivated by the vast landscape, Elinore acts quickly on her secret passion: to homestead a piece of land of her own. But fulfilling her year's contract with Clyde may be as challenging as the oncoming winter-- a winter of devastating blizzards, famine and isolation. Directed by Richard Pearce. Starring Rip Torn & Conchata Ferrell. Based on Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. PG
 
1977 - 1980
No award given
1976
Bite the Bullet
A former Rough Rider, a lovely but shady lady-in-distress, a drifting ex-cowboy, a young reckless cowboy, a haughty English sportsman, and a gutsy Pony Express rider come together to battle the trials of the rugged West in a grueling 700-mile horse race. Directed by Richard Brooks. Starring Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen & James Coburn. PG
 
1975
No award given
 
1974
The New Land
 
1973
No award given
1972
The Cowboys
A rancher (Wayne) hires 11 schoolboys to drive his cattle to market when the gold rush lures all the men away. Along the trail the boys learn how to do their job and become men. Directed by Mark Rydell. Starring John Wayne. Based on the book by William Dale Jennings. PG
 
1971
A Man Called Horse
When an English lord is captured by a Sioux Indian tribe, he is given to the chief's aging mother as a servant. Gradually, he embraces the tribe's way of life and falls in love with the chief's sister. But before he can be accepted with honor as an equal within the tribe, he must endure the Sun Vow. Directed by Elliot Silverstein. Starring Richard Harris. R
1970
True Grit
U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn is hired by a 14-year-old girl to kill the man who murdered her father and stole the family nest egg. She accepts the help of a Texas Ranger, who is intent on the reward, and accompanies them on the quest. Directed by Henry Hathaway. Starring John Wayne. G
1969
Will Penny
Will Penny , an aging, out of work cowboy, is left in the desert to die by a ruthless gang of outlaws. A beautiful young woman and her son, on her way to join her husband, stop to help him and nurse him back to health. Suddenly, Will sees a lifestyle he's never known as he falls in love with her, but the gang is on its way to finish him off. Directed by Tom Gries. Starring Charlton Heston. NR
1968
The War Wagon
Taw Jackson is a rancher who is dead set on capturing an iron-clad stagecoach belonging to cattle baron West Catlin, the man who stole his fortune and good name years before. To pull off the heist, Jackson puts together a crew that includes an old character, a half-civilized Indian, a young drunk, and a cocky gunfighter. Directed by Burt Kennedy. Starring John Wayne & Kirk Douglas. Based on the book Badman by Clair Huffaker. NR
 
1967
Appaloosa
1966
Sons of Katie Elder
The day that Katie Elder is buried, her four sons return home to Clearwater, Texas, to pay their last respects. It is a he-man story, as well as, a drama of the maternal influence of Katie Elder , her sacrifice, love and incredible valor. The hopes and aspirations for her sons is movingly communicated from beginning to conclusion. Directed by Henry Hathaway. Starring John Wayne & Dean Martin. NR
 
1965
Cheyenne Autumn
1964
How the West Was Won
A western adventure spanning three generations, the breadth of a wild, unsettled country, and fifty of the most excitingly turbulent years of this nation's history. Directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway, & George Marshall. Starring Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Carroll Baker, James Stewart, & Debbie Reynolds. Based on the How the West Was Won by Louis L'Amour. G
1963
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
A western portraying the struggle between cattlemen and homesteaders in the town of Shinbone, telling about the encounter of a young eastern lawyer with the notorious gunman Liberty Valance. Directed by John Ford. Starring John Wayne & James Stewart. Based on the story The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by Dorothy M. Johnson. NR
1962
The Comancheros
A Texas Ranger works undercover to foil a notorious gang of outlaws. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Starring John Wayne. Based on the book by Paul Wellman. NR
1961
Alamo
A chronicle of one of the most remarkable events in American history. At the Alamo - a crumbling adobe mission - 185 exceptional men joined together in a sacred pact: they would stand firm against an army of 7,000 and willingly give their lives for freedom. Directed by & Starring John Wayne. NR