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bigfoot wearing a cowboy hat walking down a road surrounded by lush green trees

Canada’s TV Lacks a Taylor Sheridan, But Who Needs Cowboys When You’ve Got Bigfoot?

Although Canada's West isn't widely celebrated, there's lots of powerful stories to tell.

Taylor Sheridan is a force to be reckoned with in the American television scene. He has reshaped the view of the American West through his shows like Tulsa King, Yellowstone, and its prequels, 1883 and 1923.

Canada’s television is often compared to the United States, but we haven’t produced a uniquely Canadian Western voice to date.

One of the reasons why Canada may not have a Taylor Sheridan is because our country’s history and mythology are different from that of the American West.

The American West has a deep history often represented in popular culture.

From the cowboys and gunslingers of the Wild West to the rugged frontier, the American West has captured the imagination of generations of Americans.

Taylor Sheridan has tapped into this mythology and used it to create entertaining stories that connect with audiences. He tells uniquely American tales of wagon trains, land barons, ranching dynasties, and mafia turf wars. He mixes strong characters, unusual situations with and peculiar family dynamics.

Canada’s history is not as well-known, particularly when it comes to the West. While the history of the European settlement of western Canada has many fascinating characters, it is not as widely celebrated as the American West. And neither country has been particularly good at centring the stories of Indigenous people.

Canada’s West was settled mainly by fur traders and explorers rather than cowboys and frontiersmen. While cowboys aren’t necessarily more interesting than fur traders, there simply isn’t as much mythology and legend surrounding our Western expansion.

Another factor contributing to the lack of a True North Taylor Sheridan is our country’s approach to television production. The funding of Canadian television is complicated and tends to focus more on social issues and political commentary than on fictional stories and character development.

While there are certainly exceptions to this, such as the popular Alberta-based family drama “Heartland,” Canadian television does not typically focus on the West in the same way that American television does.

This is not to say that no mythology surrounds the Canadian West. Canada has a rich history of myth-making and storytelling unique to our country.

While we may not be producing shows about cowboys and gunslingers, there are still plenty of stories to be told about the Canadian West.

The story of Louis Riel’s rise and fall is more fascinating than the manufactured heroism of the Alamo. The manhunt for Albert Johnson, better known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, is every bit as view-worthy as Jesse James.

One of the best stories is the legend of Sasquatch (an anglicization of a Coast Salish word) or Bigfoot, the mythical creature that is said to inhabit the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Canadian explorer David Thompson is sometimes credited with first discovering a set of Sasquatch footprints in 1811.

the original cover for jack london's novel the call of the wild published in 1903 featuring the face of a dog
Cover from Jack London’s novel The Call Of The Wild, published in 1903 | UMD Special Collections | Flickr

This legend has been a part of Canadian culture for centuries and has inspired countless stories, books, and movies.

Another example of Canadian myth-making is the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. In the late 19th century, thousands flocked to the Yukon for gold.

The next great Canadian television series is just waiting to be written and produced.

The Klondike has been immortalized in literature and film, including the classic ack London novel “The Call of the Wild.” While the Klondike Gold Rush is not as well-known as the American Gold Rush, it is still a significant part of our history.

Whether it is the legend of Bigfoot or the story of the Klondike Gold Rush, Canada has a wealth of untouched material to draw from.

Canada’s next great television series may be hidden in the stories we tell our children or the tales we heard as kids.

So get out your pencil, or boot up your computer and start writing them down. Maybe you can become Canada’s Taylor Sheridan. Or something better.

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