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The best westerns on Netflix: Top shows and movies to add to your watchlist

Covering a huge range of themes and styles across film and TV, Netflix has westerns for every taste.
April 13, 2022
the harder they fall netflix 2

Cowboy movies are about as old as cinema itself. As American myths, they range from campy and light to grim and heavy to radical and revisionist. Netflix has one of the biggest western libraries among streaming services. What the service lacks in colder titles it more than makes up for in modern classics, including Netflix originals like The Harder They Fall and Godless. Below, you’ll find a list of the best westerns on Netflix, including films and TV shows.

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Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

The best westerns on Netflix:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best westerns on Netflix regularly as new titles make it to the streaming service.

Best westerns on Netflix: Films

In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Ethan Hawke sits on a hill with his dog in In a Valley of Violence - best westerns on netflix
Focus World

Runtime: 104 minutes
 Ti West
Main cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

Darkly funny and chilling at the same time, In a Valley of Violence is a terrific western on Netflix from horror director Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers, The Sacrament, X). A drifter heading to Mexico with his dog tries to shorten his trip by cutting through the town of Denton. While there, he finds himself at odds with some local ruffians and the crooked town Marshall. He stands his ground in what quickly becomes a bloody showdown.

The Harder They Fall (2021)

the harder they fall netflix 1

Runtime: 139 minutes
Jeymes Samuel
Main cast: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

This Netflix original western from singer-songwriter, music producer, and first-time director Jeymes “The Bullitts” Samuel is one of the best titles on the service, with a bold style and killer performances. A gunslinger puts together a gang to take down the man who killed his parents when he learns the notorious killer has busted out of jail.

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Benedict Cumberbatch stands in a field in the power of the dog

Runtime: 125 minutes
 Jane Campion
Main cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Jane Campion directs Benedict Cumberbatch in one of his finest performances in The Power of the Dog. A cold and cruel rancher torments his new sister-in-law and her son when they move to the family farm with his brother. In time, he takes a liking to the boy and tries, for a time, to take him under his wing.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Zoe Kazan in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - best westerns on netflix

Runtime: 132 minutes
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Main cast: Tim Blake Nelson, Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Clancy Brown
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

The Coen brothers’ first foray into streaming was a big hit with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Netflix original western. The film is a loose collection of six short films all set in the Old West, ranging from the funny to the tragic to the brutally violent, and everything in between, painting a rich portrait of American history in a distinctly Coen way.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Kurt Russell aims a rifle at Samuel L. Jackson in the snow in The Hateful Eight - best westerns on netflix
The Weinstein Company

Runtime: 175 minutes
 Quentin Tarantino
Main cast:
Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%

Quentin Tarantino tackles the darker sides of the Old West in this gripping story. A bounty hunter taking his ward to justice has to seek shelter at a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard. Stuck there with another bounty hunter and a host of travelling strangers, he soon realizes he may have walked into a trap. You can also watch The Hateful Eight: Extended Version on Netflix. An equally worthy western on Netflix, this version works in some deleted scenes and is told across for distinct chapters, or episodes.

Silverado (1985)

Columbia Pictures

Runtime: 133 minutes
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Main cast: Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Rambling drifter Emmett puts together a team of misfit cowboys to take on odd jobs. After heading to the town of Silverado to seek their fortunes, Emmett’s gang faces off with a greedy rancher and corrupt lawman who have completely taken over the town.

True Grit (2010)

Jeff Bridges aims a pistol while smoking a cigarette in True Grit - best westerns on Netflix

Runtime: 110 minutes
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Main cast: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Before The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Coen brothers remade the classic John Wayne-starring western True Grit, surpassing the original by a hefty margin. A 14-year-old cowgirl enlists the help of a grizzled U.S. Marshall and a Texas Ranger to avenge her father’s death. The 2010 True Grit is one of the best westerns on Netflix and essential viewing for fans of the genre.

Django Unchained (2012)

Jaime Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained - best netflix westerns
The Weinstein Company

Runtime: 165 minutes
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Main cast: Jaime Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Another Tarantino outing, Django Unchained was the cult director’s first foray into western filmmaking — though one might argue that Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds had laid some groundwork. In this riff on the spaghetti Western, Tarantino tells the story of a freed slave working as a bounty hunter and eventually seeking his wife’s freedom from a vicious plantation owner.

The Long Riders (1980)

Cowboys on horseback in The Long Riders - best westerns on netflix
United Artists

Runtime: 99 minutes
Director: Walter Hill
Main cast: David Carradine, Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine, Stacy Keach, James Keach
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

The legendary James-Younger Gang disbands after a bank robbery leaves a man dead. As Cole Younger considers settling down with his girlfriend, the gang gets back together for one more bank job. But things go south fast. Cult auteur Walter Hill brings his great skill and affection for the genre to the table in this standout western.

The Beguiled (2017)

Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning in a sitting room in The Beguiled
Focus Features

Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Sofia Coppola
Main cast: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

From acclaimed director Sofia Copolla comes a western set during the Civil War. Shifting focus away from soldiers, cowboys, and outlaws, Copolla tells the story of a group of women and girls at a Southern all-female boarding school. When an injured Union soldier seeks refuge with them, the students and teachers tend to him while competing for his affections.

Best westerns on Netflix: TV

Godless (2016)

Merritt Wever and Michelle Dockery hold rifles in Godless - best netflix westerns

Episode runtime: 70 minutes
Creator: Scott Frank
Main cast: Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Jack O’Connell, Merritt Wever
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Roy Goode is on the run from notorious criminal Frank Griffin and his gang, who want him dead after he double-crossed them. He takes shelter in the town of La Belle with a reclusive widow. Goode’s presence could put the whole town in jeopardy if Griffin finds him, with the residents mostly made up of widows grieving the loss of their husbands in a mining accident. But the women of La Belle may be made of tougher stuff than the men believe in this series produced by Steven Soderbergh, one of the best westerns on Netflix.

Wynonna Earp (2016-2021)

Melanie Scrofano in Wynonna Earp

Episode runtime: 43 minutes
Creator: Emily Andras
Main cast: Melanie Scrofano, Shamier Anderson, Tim Rozon
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Wynonna Earp has a rather distinguished family tree. The heir to famous lawman Wyatt Earp, she returns to her hometown of purgatory, where she’ll take up the family trade, hunting the souls of the criminals her great-grandfather took down in the Old West and keeping them from escaping into the world of the living. 

Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Adult Swim

Episode runtime: 25 minutes
Creator: Hajime Yatate
Main cast: Koichi Yamadera, Unsho Ishizuka, Megumi Hayashibara
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

An incredibly influential anime series, the original Cowboy Bebop follows a team of intergalactic bounty hunters in a future where every job stands between you and your next meal. You can see echoes of the show in other popular series like Firefly and The Mandalorian, not to mention Netflix’s own live-action remake, which you can read about below.

Cowboy Bebop (2021)

live action Cowboy Bebop

Episode runtime: 50 minutes
Creator: Christopher Yost
Main cast: John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%

This Netflix original remake didn’t get quite as much love as the anime original, but it’s definitely worth a look. In my own review of the show here at Android Authority, I said that the live-action remake captures the “spirit and the general energy of the original while carving out its own space as a fresh new show.” It’s sharp, fun, dark, and weird, and it’s one of the best westerns on Netflix. Sadly, it was cancelled after its first season aired, but you can still watch all 10 episodes and imagine what could have been.

Longmire (2012-2017)

Robert Taylor and Lou Diamond Phillips stand together at a protest in Longmire - best westerns on netflix

Episode runtime: 43 minutes
Creator: John Coveny, Hunt Baldwin
Main cast: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Cassidy Freeman
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire is an updated western, set in the present day but still with a distinctly western spirit. Sherrif Walt Longmire struggles with the death of his wife, but with help from his friends and encouragement from his daughter, he runs for re-election and continues to serve and patrol Absaroka County, Wyoming, solving local crimes.

The Walking Dead (2010-2022)

Danai Gurira as Michonne and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon escort a prisoner in The Walking Dead

Episode runtime: 45 minutes
Creator: Frank Darabont
Main cast: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

A bit of a genre hybrid (there are a few on this list, as you may have noticed), The Walking Dead sees America and the world reduced to Old West lawlessness when humanity is overrun by a zombie plague. In the apocalyptic wasteland that remains, survivors have to work together to evade their foes — who are as likely to be human as zombie.

Frontier (2016-2018)

Jason Momoa in Frontier

Episode runtime: 46 minutes
Creator: Peter Blackie, Rob Blackie
Main cast: Jason Momoa, Landon Liboiron, Alun Armstrong
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

Strictly speaking, Frontier isn’t really a western, as it’s set in Canada. As the title suggests, though, it deals with all the familiar themes of the American western, albeit with a broader, northern scope. Declan Harp is an outlaw trapper in the 1700s. Harp wages a war on the Hudson’s Bay Company, challenging their monopoly on the fur trade, and he incurs the wrath of the vengeful Lord Benton in the process in this Discovery Channel co-production.

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2014-2016)

Zane Holtz and D.J. Cotrona hold up a store in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - best westerns on Netflix

Episode runtime: 45 minutes
Creator: Robert Rodriguez
Main cast: D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza González
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Based on the cult film by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn follows two outlaw brothers who make a run for it to Mexico after a bank robbery goes south. Once there, they have to contend with lawmen on their trail and the vampires and demons waiting for them in this genre-defying series. With frontier themes of lawlessness, the series is a great choice if you want westerns on Netflix, though you’re in for a lot more than that too.

Those are our picks of some of the best westerns on Netflix. Hopefully you’ll be able to find something to match your tastes, whether you want to watch a movie or binge a new series.

So, next time you’re craving some guns and saddles in your entertainment, give one of these a try, pardner!