Katharine Ross sitting with Robert Redford in a scene from the film 'Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid', 1969. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)/ Kevin Costner and Mary McDonnell having a passionate moment in a scene from the film 'Dances With Wolves', 1990. (Photo by Tig Productions/Getty Images)

The 14 Most Iconic Western Movie Couples of All Time


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The Wild West may be home to some of the most memorable gunslingers outlaws, and cowboys, but it's also where some of the most memorable love stories have taken place. Between gunfights, horse chases and life on the open range, some of our favorite western movies have featured timeless romance stories that stand the test of time.

Here are our top 14 couples featured in western movies.

Read More: 20 of the Most Romantic Country Lyrics of All Time

1. Lieutenant Dunbar and Stands With a Fist of Dances with Wolves

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Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves is memorable for more than the fact that it helped reinvigorate a love of the western genre in the early '90s. When Lieutenant John Dunbar (Costner) begins to befriend the nearby Sioux tribe, he forms a connection with their adopted daughter, Stands With a Fist (Mary McDonnell). She was taken in by the tribe after her family was killed by a Pawnee tribe. Dunbar abandons his military position to formally join the tribe and eventually gets the chief's permission to marry Stands With a Fist. They have a powerful connection, though they come from two different worlds, making this one of the most captivating love stories in the West.

2. Wyatt Earp and Josephine of Tombstone

Quite a few actors have portrayed the legendary Wyatt Earp on the big screen over the years, but was anyone quite as charming as Kurt Russell? Tombstone is a classic western for a reason...it depicts the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and shows how Earp met his second wife, Josephine Marcus. At the time of their meeting, the heroic gunslinger was married to Mattie Blaylock, but he had a connection with Josephine that he just couldn't ignore. Their love story was a nice addition to what is widely considered one of the best western movies of the '90s.

3. Dusty and Harley of Pure Country

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Pure Country is notable enough for being country music legend George Strait's big debut into the acting world. Dusty (Strait) is a country singer who falls for Harley (Isabel Glasser), the daughter of a struggling ranch owner. He enjoys taking a step back from his music fame to enjoy small-town life and despite coming from two very different worlds, he and Harley discover that they have found something special. It's a corny love story but has a great cast (Kyle Chandler plays a memorable rival) and you can't beat George Strait's singing, which is obviously a big part of the film. There's a particularly romantic moment at the end where Dusty serenades Harley to win her back.

4. Charley Waite and Sue Barlow of Open Range

Kevin Costner is the king of westerns so it's only fitting he's on this list twice right? Charley Wait is working on a cross-country cattle drive when he meets Sue Barlow (Annette Bening), the local doctor's sister. They form an immediate connection and we love that this movie features a slightly older couple finding true love out in the Old West.

5. Butch Cassidy and Ella Place of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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Talk about an all-time classic. You really can't beat Paul Newman and Robert Redford bringing to life the legendary tale of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. While the film is widely beloved for capturing the essence of two of history's most memorable outlaws, we also love the sweet romance between the Sundance Kid (Redford) and Etta Place (Katharine Ross). She flees with the two men to Bolivia, but ends up returning to the United States before they are seen in the final shootout, one of the best film scenes of all time.

6. Tristan and Susannah of Legends of the Fall

Okay, this movie (and the novel it's based on) is incredibly depressing. The story of the Ludlow family is not a happy one, although there are some romantic moments that are truly beautiful. Technically Susannah (Julia Ormond) was first in love with Tristan's brother, Samuel, but after his death, she starts a relationship with Tristan (Brad Pitt). Despite forming a deep love, it doesn't last and doesn't end well. But it's still a love story for the ages and one you'll be thinking about long after watching this emotional film.

7. Quigley and Cora of Quigley Down Under

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Who doesn't love Tom Selleck in a western? Quigley is hands down one of his best roles, a cowboy that fights off villains in the Australian Outback. It's there that he meets Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo). Cora, originally from Texas, has a tragic backstory -- a dead child and a husband who dumped her on a boat alone to Australia. But when Cora and Quigley end up fighting for their survival together in the Outback, they forge an unlikely romance.

8. Leslie and Bick Benedict of Giant

Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor...need we say more? The Oscar-winning Giant tells the story of the Benedict family's Texas cattle ranch. Hudson and Taylor play married couple Bick and Leslie Benedict. Leslie finds herself in the middle of a love triangle with Jett (James Dean), though it's unrequited love, and she only has eyes for her husband. Hudson and Dean both earned Oscar nominations for this historic film.

9. Hawkeye and Cora Munro of Last of the Mohicans

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Last of the Mohicans is a visually stunning western adventure and a big part of that is due to the love story between Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Cora (Madeleine Stowe). Set during the French and Indian War, Hawkeye and Cora have a dramatic romance surrounded by death, violence and their fight for survival as they unexpectedly find themselves put into each other's lives. Coming from very different backgrounds they cling to each other during a time of war in one of the most romantic stories ever told.

10. Ennis and Jack of Brokeback Mountain

Not every love story has to have a happy ending. Brokeback Mountain tells the heartwrenching romance of two cowboys, Ennis and Jack, over the course of 20 years. Throughout their relationships with other people, including marriages and affairs, they continue coming back to each other regularly until one of their lives is cut short. Despite the tragedy, they have a beautiful romance, which is probably why this film received such high acclaim after its release in 2005.

11. Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok of Calamity Jane

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The Doris Day version might not be the most authentic retelling of Wild West icon Calamity Jane, but it sure is fun. Jane and Bill Hickok (Howard Keel) actually have a sweet romance in this musical rendition of the real Wild West legends who may or may not have been involved.

12. Doc Brown and Clara Clayton of Back to the Future Part III

Not all sequels are created equal, but somehow, after mastering the '50s and '80s in the first two films, the Back to the Future franchise managed a pretty good western in its final chapter. It was finally time for Doc Brown to find romance and it was worth the wait with school teacher Clara Clayton. He finally meets his match (100 years in the past), who loves science and time travel just as much as he does.

13. Hogan and Sara of Two Mules for Sister Sara

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Clint Eastwood falling for a nun? How could this not be one of the most memorable romances from his repertoire of western films? Eastwood plays Hogan, a Civil War veteran who rescues a nun (Shirley MacLaine) from bandits. Turns out she was just posing as a nun and the two fall for each other over the course of the film.

14. Lane and Kellie Frost of 8 Seconds

Lane and Kellie Frost are very real people which makes their story in 8 Seconds hit that much harder. Lane Frost (Luke Perry) was a champion bull rider who tragically lost his life in the arena. Kellie (Cynthia Geary) is a young barrel racer that steals his heart as his career gains momentum. The real Kellie contributed to this film to preserve her late husband's memory.

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