ravine

In a Western, outlaws will lie in wait at the top of a ravine, or narrow valley, until they see a traveler entering at the bottom. Then, the outlaws will come pounding down the ravine's steep sides.

Ravines can be lonely and violent places averse to settlement as nothing can be built along their steep sides. The word ravine itself derives from the archaic rapin, which is a violent seizure of property. During times of heavy rains and snow melt, a ravine may be filled with violent, rushing water.

Definitions of ravine
1

n a deep narrow steep-sided valley (especially one formed by running water)

Examples:
Cataract Canyon
a tributary of the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
the enormous gorge of the Colorado River in northern Arizona
Olduvai Gorge
a gorge in northeastern Tanzania where anthropologists have found some of the earliest human remains
Types:
canon, canyon
a ravine formed by a river in an area with little rainfall
gorge
a deep ravine (usually with a river running through it)
flume, gulch
a narrow gorge with a stream running through it
Type of:
vale, valley
a long depression in the surface of the land that usually contains a river

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