Western themed slots simulate the dangerous allure of the Old West, a time period that continues to capture the imagination over a century after it officially drew to a close. As the nation was busy healing from the fresh wounds inflicted by the Civil War, well-armed veterans were roaming the landscape committing crimes, enforcing the law, and pushing aside anything that stood in their way (whether man or beast). It was the time of men like Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, and Billy the Kid, and their exploits live on today through movies, books, video games, and Wild West slot machines.
The following list details some of the games you can find in both online and land-based casinos. While playing these modern one-armed bandits won’t allow you to save the local schoolmarm or gun down a hoard of bandits, you’ll still have a chance to walk away with a respectable payday. And unlike the characters of the Old West, these slot machines don’t shoot back.
Old West Slot Machines
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Patterned after the legendary spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood, this 5-reel video slot pays up to 10,000 coins for a winning spin. The iconic theme music is included, as are distinctive sound effects like ricocheting bullets, train whistles, and the blowing wind.
The reel symbols are also drawn straight from the film, and fans of Sergio Leone’s classic will get a kick out of the following: Tuco’s wanted poster, an empty canteen in the desert, Union and Confederate flags, cannons, an unmarked grave, and a bag overflowing with gold. A wild multiplying horse substitutes for all symbols, and Tuco’s Target Range is activated by getting the appropriate symbols in any position on reels one and five. Once active, this bonus feature allows you to shoot at wooden targets in an effort to accumulate bonus multipliers.
If you get “good,” “bad,” or “ugly” icons on reels three, four, and five, you’ll be taken to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Showdown Bonus. You’ll be prompted to select two targets for your six-shooter, and gunning down the bad and the ugly--while sparing the “good”--will result in a sizable payday.
Gold Diggers – While some folks were herding cattle or engaging in shootouts at high noon, others were grabbing pickaxes or shovels and taking part in the search for gold. This Wild West slot takes a humorous look at the Gold Rush, with three-dimensional miners and busty women all looking to strike it rich. The graphics are superb, and even the screen looks to be located inside a perilous—and potentially profitable—mine shaft.
Symbols include a pan of gold, prospector, lantern, mining cart, gopher, pickaxe, oil drum, dynamite, and a lovely blonde. Each time a symbol is part of a winning combination, it springs forth and provides the player with a short animated segment. For example, getting three or more dynamite symbols with cause the icons to explode and disappear from the reels, with new symbols dropping down to replace them.
Gold Diggers is a 5-reel, 30-payline slot, and players can wager from 1 to 150 coins per line. There are multiple bonus games, including one involving a gopher and another that requires players to find hidden gold behind rocks.
The Magnificent Seven – Based on a Japanese film from director Akira Kurosawa, The Magnificent Seven follows the exploits of seven hired gunfighters who agree to protect a small Mexican village against desperate bandits. The game deftly captures the spirit of the movie, with memorable theme music and sound effects such as ricocheting bullets, gunshots, and neighing horses.
A 5-reel, 20-payline slot, The Magnificent Seven contains the following symbols on its reels: playing cards from ace through jack, wanted poster, cowboy hat, throwing knife, lasso, horse, a pair of six shooters, a Magnificent Seven icon, a seven symbol, and a gun chamber filled with bullets. The latter acts as a Super Wild Symbol, and it displays a number that indicates how many spins it will remain on the reels for (the number decreases after each spin).
Getting three or more Magnificent Seven icons in any position pays a scatter award and triggers the free spins roundup bonus. There are also symbols for a Mexican bandit and heroic cowboy that may appear on reels one and five. When this happens, the Bandit Showdown will be triggered, giving the player an opportunity to win up to 105 times their initial stake.
Of the regular icons, the “seven” symbols offer the largest payday; getting five of these pays 500 times the initial wager. Next is the pair of pistols, which pay 250 times the initial wager. The wanted poster is wild, substituting for all symbols except those that trigger a bonus round.
Western Frontier – Symbols on this colorful western-themed slot machine include pistols, horseshoes, Indian hatchets, black stallions, and covered wagons. A golden horseshoe serves as the scatter symbol, and getting three or more delivers eight free spins and activates the game’s Indian Feature (where more free spins can be retriggered). Black stallions that turn up during the bonus phase result in the “cowboy feature prize” being paid out, and hitting three or more horseshoes will once again trigger bonus spins. The game has 5 reels and 15 paylines, and the available wager per line ranges from a penny to $0.50.
I’ve long been a fan of American history from the late 19th century, so it’s natural that I’m drawn to Western themed slots. Each time I play one of the games listed above, I can almost smell the dust from the trail and spot a lonely campfire burning just over the ridge. And while I enjoy the chance to win generous jackpots and watch colorful reels spin by, it’s also nice to avoid dealing with bushwhackers, gunslingers, and assorted other frontier dangers.
If you’re also a fan of the Old West, you may want to put on your best duds, make a withdrawal from the bank, and mosey on down to your local casino. Or, if that sounds like too much trouble, you can stay in your bunkhouse and wager money though that new-fangled Internet.