Classic western films often conceive of the west as existing in a legal void, where the central conflict is a binary one between lawlessness and legalization. The law is a monolith, and the legalization process is linear - a narrative of the west's inexorable evolution toward a modern state governed by the rule of law. Cimino's Heaven's Gate presents a more postmodernist, pluralist conception. There is no grand narrative of legalization; the film envisages a discourse of justice emerging from the interaction of a variety of discourses, and which appears to be a unity only from the vantage point of history.

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Law, Culture and the Humanities
Department of Law and Legal Studies

Young, D. (2011). Law and the foucauldian Wild West in Michael Cimino's heaven's gate. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 7(2), 310–326. doi:10.1177/1743872109355555