This town was big enough for two Westerns this time


It was a good night for Western-themed projects as AMC's "Broken Trail" and HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" rode off into the sunset with Emmys between them Sunday.

"Trail" was named best miniseries or movie and also earned statuettes for lead actor Robert Duvall and supporting actor Thomas Haden Church, while "Heart" was named best made-for-TV movie.

The duo had led all nominees going into the ceremony with a total of 17 for "Heart" and 16 for "Trail." "Heart" also topped the Creative Arts Emmy Awards winners with a total of five trophies, while "Trail" nabbed one.

"Trail" was AMC's first original effort in the longform arena.

"This is confirmation that we are on the right track," Rob Sorcher, executive vp original programming, packaging and production at AMC, said after the ceremony. "We're so proud to be associated with this project."

Church said backstage that the Western has appeal because it's "uniquely American. (Westerns represent) a very narrow sliver of American history that has been deservedly canonized," he said. "It was right after the Civil War and before the industrial age. It's a unique period in history like no other."

"Trail" producer-director Walter Hill said backstage that he's not sure the wins are a sign of a Western revival.

"I think Westerns have found a niche on cable, and the popularity of our show invigorated that idea," he said. "But I don't think they'll ever be the staple that they once were."

As for "Heart," executive producer Dick Wolf said it has connected with viewers because it has "historical resonance."

"The book (by Dee Brown) came out during the height of Vietnam and resonated with Americans — there were obviously similarities with what we had done with the Indians and what we were doing in Southeast Asia. Now magically, 36 years later, we seem to be in a similar situation once again."