I love a good western and hope the genre continues to flourish. Whether it a classic or modern western, it is a fast 40,000 to 50,000 word read that I always found exciting. The cowboy dreams I had as a seven year old have never died.
The traditional or classic westerns by such writers as Zane Grey, Max Brand, Louis L'Amour and others, feature a hero whose idealism drives him to right wrongs and/or seek vengence for injustices done to innocent people. Throughout there is a constant sense of place.
The modern (contemporary) western contains all the elements in the traditional western, but is set in modern times. Good books to read in this category are Cormac McCarthy's "Border Trilogy," Richard Ford's "Rock Springs," and one of favorites, Mildred Walker's "Winter Wheat." Hers I read several times before I headed to Montana for graduate work.
There are many categories of westerns. some of the more unique are parnormal westerns, horror westerns, science fiction westerns.
The newest are the contemporary romances featuring plots full of sexy scenes.
The good news is the western doesn't appear to be dead. In 2014 there was a 7% rise from 2013 in unit sales for westerns. Many of the classic westerns are being reissued as ebooks, and others like the sexy romances can be found in such stores as Wal Mart and supermarkets.