Northern (genre)

Northern (genre)

The North-West Mounted Police, and later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, were often the heroes of Northern fiction
The Yukon was a common setting for Northern fiction.

The Northern or Northwestern[1] is an American and Canadian genre in literature and film made popular by the writings of Rex Beach, Jack London, Robert W. Service, James Oliver Curwood, Laurie York Erskine, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Romer Grey, Stephen Slesinger, Tom Dougall, Fran Striker, and Gaylord Du Bois. It is similar to the Western genre but the action occurs in the Canadian North and typically features Mounties instead of, for example, cowboys or sheriffs. The genre was extremely popular in the inter-war years of the 20th century.

In addition to being set in Canada the stories often contrast the American Old West with the Canadian one in several ways. In films such as Pony Soldier and Saskatchewan the North-West Mounted Police display reason, compassion and a sense of fairplay in their dealings with native peoples as opposed to hotheaded American visitors (often criminals), lawmen or the U.S. Army who distrust and want to relocate the native peoples.

The Western idea of lawlessness set in American towns was not a part of the Canadian Northern, though individual lawbreakers or uprisings by Canadians (Quebec), First Nations tribes or Métis featured in some depictions, such as Riel and North West Mounted Police.

The genre is parodied in the 1939 film The Frozen Limits and the 1933 W.C. Fields short The Fatal Glass Of Beer.

Background of Canada

Examples of Northerns

Folklore of Canada (Canadian oral stories)


Pulp Magazines










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External links

  • "Looking for Dudley Do-Right" at Pulp and Dagger Fiction
  • Northern Romances Editorial at Pulp and Dagger Fiction
  • "Romancing the Redcoat: A Canadian Hero Lost in Hollywood" at Canuxploitation
  • The RCMP in Popular Culture
  • The Mountie Films at B-Westerns
  • Hollywood's View of Canada (list of films)
  • The Force in the North – Myths at Virtual Museum Canada