As John Cawelti has claimed, The Virginian “stands as the transition between the dime novel and the modern literary cinematic western” (215). In The Virginian Wister’s chief contribution to American literature is his creation of the formulaic western which a multitude of writers would adopt. Aspects of this formula include five central characters: the idealized hero, whose chief virtue is his ability to deal successfully with whatever life throws at him; the laughable tenderfoot, who functions at first as a foil to the hero but whose own development of character functions as a subplot to the main action; the eastern schoolmarm, who is the harbinger of civilization and the catalyst in modifying the …
Loges, Max Lester. "The Virginian". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 August 2014; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8060, accessed 25 April 2015.]