Western, also known as Wild West was a LEGO System theme that ran from 1996 to 1997. Three sets were re-released in 2002.
The theme was set in the American Old West in the second half of the 19th century and featured cowboys, outlaws, cavalry soldiers and even native Americans. It was the first theme that introduced realistic fire arms (revolvers and rifles) that could also be found in the real world of today, while Pirates did only feature antique weapons like muskets and flintlock pistols.
Western was the first minifigure-compatible Wild West-styled LEGO theme, but there have been earlier sets of the same subject. Most notably 620 Wild West Scene (1975) and 617 Cowboys (1975) which both included the old "Hands in Pockets" minifigures, that already had the same cowboy hats used today.
The first sets from 1996 focussed on the aspect of sheriffs fighting against outlaws as well as the military presence in the old west and less on civilian life. The few sets that featured town-life served more as a back drop for the gang of bandits robbing carriages or banks. The town, called Gold City, consisted only of the 6755 Sheriff's Lock-up|Sheriff station as well as a bank and a general store (6765 Gold City Junction). The bandits took refuge at 6761 Bandits' Secret Hideout|an abandoned mine outside the city. Another important element of the theme was the cavalry, based at Fort LEGOREDO. Cavalry soldiers had initially no other purpose than defending money transports against the bandits.
In the second and also last year of the theme, 1997, Indians became a major part of Western. Most of the sets included teepees, including their main settlement, 6766 Rapid River Village|Rapid River Village. Interestingly, none of the sets including Indians featured other Western minifigures and the 1997 sets with soldiers or bandits did not involve any Indians, making it appear as if there is not supposed to be any contact between these two groups.
Three Western sets were rereleased in 2002, similar to Pirates which had three rereleases in 2001.