The East German state-run Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft Studio (DEFA) produced 12 Westerns – all blockbusters – between 1966 and 1982. The Western craze in the Germanys began well before any films were produced with the novels of Karl May. The novels focused on the Apache chief Winnetou and were narrated by Old Shatterhand, a German immigrant who fought against the commercialisation of the West, facing oil barons and prospectors – already a deviation from the American portrayal of ‘conflict between the forces of civilization and wilderness’. The music of traditional Westerns is not stylistically monolithic. There are, however, some common musical tropes. In classic American Westerns, the Native Americans also have their own sound to mark them as ‘Other’ in the cowboys and Indians binary. Karl-Ernst Sasse began his collaboration with DEFA as a conductor, taking over the DEFA Symphony Orchestra in 1959.