This article follows mythologies of the American West in Arthur Miller's story, The Misfits, as the piece develops from short story to eventual long story and screenplay in the late 1950s. Given its formal play, the screenplay (Miller's first) allowed the writer to reconsider forms such as the “American tragedy” or what Miller labeled the “eastern western.” Engaging the historical context of Cold War and Miller's own autobiography, the argument here examines links between The Misfits' formal inventions as it maps a shrinking American West.

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