This lecture examines how and why the field of western history professionalized relatively late. The Western History Association wasn’t founded until 1962. It was preceded by a group called The Westerners, founded in the 1940s by nonprofessional historians, mostly white men. So in the Cold War era when film and TV westerns proliferated in popular culture, it was amateur rather academic historians who advanced the study of the West. The 1960s saw a contest between amateurs and academics that had lasting consequences for the field, especially for those committed to the study of non-white, non-male westerners.