What’s the Worst Western of All Time?

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 07, 2024

One of the longest-running film genres is Westerns, with the films being made for almost 100 years.

However, despite all the many Western films out there, there are also a few that don’t quite hit the mark, even with an all-star cast.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

The man behind the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jon Favreau, was behind “Cowboys & Aliens,” so it should have been a success.

A scene from “Cowboys & Aliens.” It features Daniel Craig looking worried and staring to the side of him. In the background, there is grass and bushes.

Source: IGN/YouTube

It should have especially been a success given it starred Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. However, Collider has labeled it as a “forgotten mid-2000s box office flop,” as it only made $174.8 million on a $163 million budget. 

Cowboys & Aliens Was Released When Alien Films Were All the Range

While “Cowboys & Aliens” sounds like a strange title for a movie, it should have been helped by the fact that when it was released, many other films featuring aliens were also being released.

A screenshot from “Cowboys & Aliens.” Daniel Craig is in the foreground and a man is riding a horse in the background.

Source: IGN/YouTube

However, according to Grantland, this was one of the issues for why the film wasn’t a box-office success. Audiences felt that too many alien-related films had been made around that time and were suffering from what they described as “alien fatigue.”

Cowboys & Aliens Has a Middle-Ground Rating

Whenever audiences might be looking to watch a new film, they will often turn to the internet to see what ratings are like before they sit down to watch it.

“Cowboys & Aliens.” A cowboy is looking off into the background as there is an explosion and lots of fire and smoke.

Source: IGN/YouTube

“Cowboys & Aliens” has an IMDb rating of six out of 10, so while it isn’t one of the worst movies ever made, it certainly isn’t one of the best. 

Aliens Seemed to be the Main Issue in Cowboys & Aliens

In a review of “Cowboys & Aliens” written in Bad Reputation, it appears that the main issue with the film isn’t with the cowboys, and is more with the aliens. 

One of the aliens in “Cowboys & Aliens.” The background is quite dark with some blue/green light and you can just make out the alien within the background.

Source: Science Fiction Station/YouTube

However, the issue with the aliens is that they are too one-dimensional and don’t have any characterization. They are essentially in the film just so that the cowboys have an enemy. 

Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958)

“Ambush at Cinnamon Pass” came out during the golden age of Western films. 

A scene from “Ambush At Cimarron Pass.” The cowboys are hiding behind a rock holding guns.

Source: True Classic Movies/YouTube

This starred Clint Eastwood, and, as it came out in the 1950s, it hasn’t stood the test of time in terms of language used. It is also a quite simple film that isn’t very exciting to watch.


Clint Eastwood Thought Ambush at Cimarron Pass Was the Worst Film Ever Made

Given the above is a statement coming from one of the actors in the film, it doesn’t exactly set a good precedent for audiences who want to watch it.

A black and white image of Clint Eastwood in “Ambush At Cimarron Pass.”

Source: True Classic Movies/YouTube

According to Collider, Eastwood thought that due to how bad he believed the film to be, it would hinder his acting career, especially as it was his first credited role. However, thankfully, it didn’t — and he went on to become an established actor. 


Ambush at Cimarron Pass Was at Least Half Decent

Despite being listed as one of the worst Western films of all time, “Ambush at Cimarron Pass” has an IMDb rating of 5.2 out of 10. 

A black and white image from “Ambush At Cimarron Pass.” A woman and a man are in the shot. They both look somewhat annoyed at each other. There are rocks and bushes in the background.

Source: True Classic Movies/YouTube

However, given this film was released during the golden age of Western films, but possibly got lost among many other great Western films made during this time. 


Ambush at Cimarron Pass Was 'Too Predictable'

According to audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, where “Ambush at Cimarron Pass” has a rating of just 28%, the film’s main issue was that it was simply “too predictable.”

A black and white image from “Ambush At Cimarron Pass.” Five cowboys are in the shot, with the one on the left standing, and the rest are either sitting or kneeling on the floor.

Source: True Classic Movies/YouTube

It was also apparently “not very imaginative,” with one reviewer stating that it was only worth the watch because of Clint Eastwood.


Wild Wild West (1999)

This is probably one of, if not the most, famous films on this list and even starred the likes of Will Smith and Kevin Kline.

A scene from “Wild Wild West.” A woman is standing in front of Will Smith’s character, stroking his face. There is a painting behind him of a man in a suit carrying a shotgun.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers/YouTube

It’s probably best remembered for the theme being sung by Smith, but in terms of the actual content of the film, it has pretty much been forgotten. 


Will Smith Says Wild Wild West Is His Worst Film

Many hoped “Wild Wild West” would be a hit, but not only was it a box-office flop Will Smith says it was his worst film, according to ScreenRant

Will Smith in “Wild Wild West.” He has a round item made of metal around his neck and is in a cornfield.

Source: Movieclips/YouTube

Smith described the film as a thorn in his side, and even though it starred Smith and had a budget of $170 million, it never took off as a hit with audiences.


Wild Wild West Has the Lowest IMDb Rating

Whilst it might not have the lowest rating of all time, of the Western films listed, “Wild Wild West” has an IMDb rating of 4.9 out of 10 stars. 

An image from “Wild Wild West.” The man in the shot is looking disgusted and has a round metal item around his neck and some mud on his face.

Source: Movieclips/YouTube

From the looks of things, “Wild Wild West” had all the makings of a good Western film, but didn’t quite hit the mark.


Wild Wild West Is 'Exhausting'

Based on reviews left on Rotten Tomatoes, one thing that remained clear was how badly “Wild Wild West” was received. 

A scene from “Wild Wild West.” Two cowboys are in the shot and there are some giant rocks in the background.

Source: Movieclips/YouTube

One critic called it “exhausting” and another said it was essentially the product of when a well-known actor and director are given too much money and seemingly don’t know what to do with it.