The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter, was the very first narrative film and became the prototype for the American western. Porter used state of the art techniques including parallel editing, pan shots, double exposure composite editing and on location shooting. This western was filmed in New Jersey and Delaware and produced at Thomas Edison’s studio.
Porter based the movie on a 1896 story by Scott Marble and was inspired by Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch who, in 1900 Wyoming, separated a mail car from the rest of the train and blew up the safe holding $5,000 cash.
In the final scene, a man aims a gun into the camera and shoots, which caused audiences of the time to leap in fear. This scene has been used for effect in other movies like Tombstone and paid homage to in Goodfellas.