Movies & Series

Best Westerns on Netflix (October 2023)

Trend Indexing: At one point in time, Westerns were about as ubiquitous in Hollywood as superhero movies are today. Studios were churning them out year after year, some better than others, but after a certain point, the genre fizzled out. Which is a shame, because it’s one of the most gorgeous and compelling genres in film history. But it lives on in the age of streaming! Whether you’re looking for something in the classic mold, something modern, or something in between, we’ve rounded up a list of the best Westerns on Netflix right now.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Check out our list of The Best Westerns of the 21st Century So Far, Best Westerns By Non-American Directors, or Shows That Paved the Way for ‘Yellowstone’. For more recommendations, browse our list of the best movies on Netflix across all genres.

The Power of the Dog (2021)


Run Time: 2 hr 6 min | Director: Jane Campion

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jesse Plemons

Written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion and based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name, The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank, an intimidating, alluring, and emotionally damaged rancher in 1925 Montana whose authority is jeopardized once his brother George (Jesse Plemons) introduces him to his wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). This psychological western forces the emotionally closed-off Phil to confront his past relationships, grapple with his masculinity, and come to terms with all that he’s lost. The film is currently nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, and Actor for its four main stars. — Emily Bernard

The Furnace (2020)

the furnace Image via Umbrella Entertainment

Run Time: 1 hr 56 min | Genre: Adventure, Drama | Director: Roderick MacKay

Cast: David Wenham, Jay Ryan, Ahmed Malek, Baykali Ganambarr

The Furnace has the look and feel of a classic American Western but adds an extra kick of spice being set in the 1890s Australian outback, allowing the film to feature the underrepresented politics of the Western Australian gold rush that affected many migrants that traveled from the Middle East, as well as the Aboriginal natives caught in the middle of all the local struggles for riches. The main story follows a pair of cameleer brothers who stumble upon two stolen gold bars, which forces them to outrun the Australian police’s Gold Squad with the help of the Aboriginal people. It is a journey through the rich cultural history of the land down under, filled with a wonderful swath of colorful characters. – Tauri Miller

R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned (2022)

Jeffrey Donovan as Roy Pulsipher and Penelope Mitchell as Jeanne in R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned Image via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Run Time: 1 hr 42 min | Genre: Comedy, Adventure | Director: Paul Leyden

Cast: Jeffrey Donovan, Richard Fleeshman, Tilly Keeper, Jake Choi

Anyone who loves their Westerns with a little extra kick will want to saddle up for R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned. As a prequel, the film takes place in the late 1800s American Old West and serves as an origin story for Sheriff Roy Pulsipher, who was previously brought to life by the dude himself, Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski). Now, Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) takes over as the newly recruited R.I.P.D. spirit hunter and prepares to fight the legions of hell to save humanity. The movie is a barrel of fun with a load of supernatural hijinks. –Tauri Miller

The Highwaymen (2019)

highwaymen-woody-harrelson-kevin-costner Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hrs 12 min | Director: John Lee Hancock

Cast: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch

Starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, The Highwaymen is a crime drama about the end of infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Highwaymen reveals the untold true story of the former Texas Rangers (Costner and Harrelson) who ultimately tracked and stopped the violent criminals. Also starring Kathy Bates and John Carroll Lynch, The Highwaymen reveals an unexplored perspective, depicting the intricate manhunt by the steely law-enforcement detectives in a film that took decades to make. With a clever thriller tone, The Highwaymen is an exciting take on the story of the legendary thieves. – Yael Tygiel

Concrete Cowboy (2020)

concrete-cowboy-idris-elba Image via TIFF

Run Time: 1 hr 51 min | Director: Ricky Staub

Cast: Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Jharrel Jerome, Clifford “Method Man” Smith, Lorraine Toussaint

Concrete Cowboy is a rich and well-crafted modern American western directed by Ricky Staub, who co-wrote the screenplay with Dan Walser. A fictional story about a rebellious boy (Caleb McLaughlin) who spends his summer with his estranged father (Idris Elba) in Pennsylvania, Concrete Cowboy is not only based on a novel by Greg Neri but also heavily inspired by an actual group of Black cowboys in Philadelphia. Featuring performances from actors Jharrel Jerome, Clifford “Method Man” Smith, and Lorraine Toussaint, Concrete Cowboy places real members of the tight-knit Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club in supporting roles in the film, allowing them to voice real issues and provide authenticity to a profound film. – Yael Tygiel

Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher (2021)

montford Image via Chickasaw Nation Productions

Run Time: 1 hr 36 min | Director: Nathan Frankowski

Cast: Martin Sensmeier, Dermot Mulroney, Tommy Flanagan

Inspired by the remarkable story of Chickasaw cattleman Montford T. Johnson, and played sincerely by Martin Sensmeier (Rutherford Falls), Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher is a thrilling western adventure about a man in the American West who built a ranching empire. Supported by a stellar cast, including Dermot Mulroney (Arrested Development) and Tommy Flanagan (Westworld), Montford is a heartfelt story about perseverance through adversity. Shot with grand scenes and sweeping flow, Canadian director Nathan Frankowski (To Write Love on Her Arms) brings to life Lucy Tennessee Cole’s script, revealing an often unexplored side of American history. – Yael Tygiel

Longmire (2012-2017)

Walt Longmire looking at something off-camera in Longmire. Image Via Netflix

Creators: Hunt Baldwin John Coveny

Cast: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips

Longmire is a gritty, contemporary crime thriller about the distraught sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Longmire is a recently widowed man who must come to terms with his grief as he attempts to resume his work to serve and protect. Starring Robert Taylor as the sarcastic and troubled sheriff, Longmire explores redemption and second chances. Sheriff Longmire pursues criminals with the help of a team featuring Lou Diamond Phillips and the incomparable Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) in a comprehensive role that allows her to truly exhibit all depths of human emotion. With adventure, dry wit, and justice, Longmire is an enjoyable ride. – Yael Tygiel

Cowboy Bebop (2021)

cowboy-bebop-danielle-pineda Image via Netflix

Creator: Christopher L. Yost

Cast: John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda

Cowboy Bebop is the live-action adaptation of the beloved space western anime series that follows an unlikely team of heroes on a quest to save the universe. Together, the misfit bounty hunters attempt to bring the galaxy’s criminals to justice. Christopher L. Yost presents a beautifully stylized vision with his adaptation, uniquely utilizing familiar features, slipping in nods to Cowboy Bebop fans without distracting new viewers. Cowboy Bebop stars John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda, who ground their exaggerated characters by blending sincerity with outlandish scenarios and fantastical elements. Sadly, Cowboy Bebop only survived one season, but the complete story is still available in anime format. – Yael Tygiel

In a Valley of Violence (2016)

In a Valley of Violence

Run Time: 1 hr 44 min | Director: Ti West

Cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga

Packed full of star power, In A Valley of Violence chronicles the enthralling Ethan Hawke (Moon Knight) as a mysterious drifter who stands toe to toe against John Travolta’s nefarious Marshal. In a Valley of Violence is a captivating endeavor that follows Hawk’s understated and complicated hero, Paul, and his adorable dog Abbie on their journey to Mexico through an old western valley haunted by local legend. Paul and Abbie dive straight into an attempted shortcut, known as the “valley of violence,” only to be met with hostility, suspicion, and bloodshed. Peel back the layers of both the characters and the valley in this riveting movie peppered with unexpected moments of humor. Hailing from Blumhouse Productions, a name that has become synonymous with horror films, In A Valley Of Violence allowed writer/director Ti West to create an unpredictable world while also capturing an uncommon suspenseful tone. – Yael Tygiel

The Killer (2017)

the killer Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 39 min | Director: Marcelo Galvão

Cast: Maria de Medeiros, Diogo Morgado

Writer and director Marcelo Galvão (Colegas, A Despedida) explores the Western genre exquisitely through the adventures of a once lawless Pernambuco during the 1940s. Brazil gloriously provides a beautiful backdrop serving as an unexpected setting for this action-packed story of family, fate, and intention. The film follows Diogo Morgado (Son of God) as Cabeleira, or Shaggy, who leaves his isolated recluse lifestyle in the desert to investigate the disappearance of his estranged outlaw father. As Shaggy rejoins the lively and colorful town, he must confront the truth about himself and his past, all while learning to set a better example for a future generation in the form of an unexpected son. The action in the forefront of The Killer is as arresting as the sets and scenery. The Killer is available in both its native Portuguese with subtitles or dubbed in English. – Yael Tygiel

The Ridiculous 6 (2015)

ridiculous 6 Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 59 min | Director: Frank Coraci

Cast: Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia

Adam Sandler stars in the uproarious The Ridiculous 6, which he co-wrote with Tim Herlihy (The Wedding Singer). Sandler and Herlihy’s cinematic history together is reason enough to check out The Ridiculous 6. Add to that Sandler’s recent explorations into previously unvisited genres, and you’ll find his unique perspective created an unexpectedly playful and modern twist on the Western story. As White Knife, Sandler plays an orphan and outlaw who spent his life raised by an Indigenous tribe before learning he had five biological half-brothers. Upon reuniting, the brothers attempt to track down their absentee father. As with other Sandler projects, of course, The Ridiculous 6 is packed with the usual Happy Madison crew, including Steve Buscemi, David Spade, and Rob Schnider, but the inclusion of native actors like Julia Jones was a pleasant casting choice. – Yael Tygiel

Thar (2022)

thar trailer social featured Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Director: Raj Singh Chaudhary

Cast: Anil Kapoor, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Fatima Sana Khaikh

Unlike most popular Westerns, Thar was inspired by the subgenre of Western Noir and takes place in the late 1980s in India. The story centers around the mysterious Siddharth, an antique dealer whose intensity is captured by actor Harshvardhan Kapoor. As Siddharth leaves his big city life for a smaller desert village, he crosses paths with Inspector Surekha Singh, played by the actor’s father, Indian icon Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire). When the remote desert town is unnerved by unexplained violent murders, the inspector arrives to investigate, ultimately forcing Siddharth to confront his past. Gruesome and gory, Thar does not hold back with the vivid violence, which breaks away from the more traditional gunshots audiences expect from a Western film. Critics praised the direction of Raj Singh Chaudhary, who also co-wrote the script with Anthony Catino and Yogesh Ishwar. Thar is available both with English dubbing or subtitling. – Yael Tygiel

The Harder They Fall (2021)

Jonathan Majors in The Harder They Fall Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr 19 min | Director: Jeymes Samuel

Cast: Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Idris Elba, R.J. Cyler, Lakeith Stanfield

The Harder They Fall is just so much fun. A refreshing throwback to the classic spaghetti western genre, Jeymes Samuel’s action-packed star vehicle features an incredible ensemble of heroes, villains, and scoundrels. Jonathan Majors proves yet again why he’s one of the most charismatic young actors of his generation, but watch out for the scene-stealing performances by Idris Elba and Regina King as the legendary outlaws Rufus Buck and Trudy Smith, respectively. Although it is a fictionalized story, The Harder They Fall were inspired by real historical figures and events. Samuels makes the genre feel fresh again with his instantly iconic original soundtrack, which includes the terrific single “Guns Go Bang.” — Liam Gaughan

Godless (2017)

Michelle Dockery in Godless Image via Netflix

Cast: Jack O’Connell, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Merritt Wever, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Tantoo Cardinal

A lean and mean miniseries that doesn’t pull any punches, Godless is a solid Western that isn’t afraid to challenge narrative tropes while also still packing plenty of the typical violence of a lawless world. Set in 1884, it follows an outlaw who takes shelter in a small New Mexico town that has become entirely run by women after a mining accident killed all the men. It is a gritty and incredibly well-acted show with Merritt Wever proving to be one of the most standouts in every scene she gets. It doesn’t meander or waste any of your time as it fully builds the beauty of its setting in every landscape without shying away from the ugliness of its themes. By the time it reaches an explosive shootout of a conclusion, you’re completely invested in the survival of the characters and the world they have built for themselves. It has largely been slept on which only makes it all the more engaging to discover it for yourself. — Chase Hutchinson

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Ballad of Buster Scruggs Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr 12 min | Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Heck

The first time the Coen Brothers have ever attempted an anthology movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has six stories taking place in the West, and while nothing connects them in terms of narrative or character, they’re all thematically bound by having something to do with death. The moral consequences the Coens see in their starkly realized movie give Buster Scruggs its spark even as it jumps between comedy (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) to tragedy (“Meal Ticket”) and everything in between. While The Ballad of Buster Scruggs may not stand as the best Coen Brothers’ movie (a difficult task when your filmography includes movies like Fargo and No Country for Old Men), it’s perhaps the best movie for understanding the recurring themes in their movies, especially when you get it across six shorts like this. – Matt Goldberg

My Heroes Were Cowboys (2021)

my-heroes-were-cowboys Image via Netflix

Run Time: 22 min | Director: Tyler Greco

Cast: Kate Wiltshire, Patrick Witshire, Robin Wiltshire

This documentary short follows immigrant Robin Wiltshire, who, spurred on by the image of classic Hollywood Westerns, uses horse training to find his purpose. A short by length only, My Heroes Were Cowboys feels epic in its scope, akin to the Westerns it clearly dotes on. Joe Victorine’s cinematography pulls the Hollywood-esque inspiration from this small story, with its tale of hope and redemption both poignant and relatable. Humanely touching, My Heroes Were Cowboys is a definite tearjerker. – Jake Hodges

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight Image via The Weinstein Company

Run Time: 3 hr 7 min | Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh

As the title suggests, The Hateful Eight is a, well, hateful film. It is not for the faint of heart, as Tarantino’s second full-on Western basically pulls together eight despicable characters and traps you, the viewer, in a room with them for three hours. It’s a bit of an endurance test in that way, and I might actually suggest watching the “extended version” of the film on Netflix instead, which breaks it into chapters and includes quite a bit of new footage overseen by Tarantino himself. In terms of being a Western, this one’s in the vein of Stagecoach as it puts various characters in a contained setting and lets the drama unfold. But as I said, this is a nasty film filled with nasty people, so don’t go in expecting to root for a “hero.” These eight are as rotten as can be. – Adam Chitwood

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