The Western is a genre of fiction. Westerns tell stories that are set mostly in the second half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. There are also stories about Western-type characters set in other times. These include Junior Bonner (set in the 1970s) and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (set in the 21st century).
The genre has been popular since the beginning of the movie industry. One of the very first commercial movies was the 1903 silent western, The Great Train Robbery.