Giant formulates its attempt to bridge the classical and neo-westerns as a new, transitional (and for that reason relatively rare) subgenre: the oil western. On the one hand, the spectacle of oil takes the sublimity of the classical western to its logical conclusion - and, more specifically, provides a vertical counterpart to Stevens' overwhelming taste for the unbroken horizon, and those horizontal trajectories (of cars, cattle, trains) that act as its surrogate. It also translates that sublimity into a technological register that culminates Stevens' presentation of the Texan ranch inhabited by Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson), his wife (Elizabeth Taylor), sister (Mercedes McCambridge), and nemesis (James Dean), as a "state of mind", "another country" and, finally, a surreal, lunar landscape that recalls the lurid romanticism of Shane. That said, this technological register simultaneously exhausts the film's sublime aesthetic, replacing it with a proliferation of grotesque, infantile, even carnivalesque wealth that culminates with an extended, claustrophobic interior sequence, and informs the extraordinary bathos with which the film concludes: "You wound up on the floor, on your back, in the middle of the salad, and I said to myself 'Well, after one hundred years, the Benedict family is a real big success.'" This aligns Benedict with the sublime, and his nemesis with the ridiculous, in such a way as to belie the surprisingly calm, elegaic resignation with which he inevitably succumbs to a series of hyperbolic affronts to 'tradition', suggesting that the film's progressive issue about matters of race, sex and lineage - or, alternatively, its deflection of the legacy of the Civil War into the difference between East and West, and the ongoing dispossession of Mexican slaves - is a mere pretext for a deeper, more atavistic nostalgia, and disgust with the post-war present.