Using bibliometrics and literature summarization methods assisted by Citespace5.3 tools, this study summarized major theoretical research progress of the western rural geography areas since the 1990s. Under the influence of globalization, market liberalization and counter-urbanization, western rural areas have undergone a sharp transformation and differentiation, and the research hotspots and major theoretical progress of western rural geography can be divided into three stages. Since the 1990s, the stage focuses on the process of agricultural decentralization and the phenomenon of counter-urbanization in western rural areas. At this stage, there are the regulatory theories centering on agricultural economy that continue the political economy paradigm of the 1980s, the rural idyll theory rooted in the romantic movement of the last century, and the other study under the social and cultural turn influenced by the postmodernism trend. In the 21st century, with the network perspective, the second stage focus more on the global scale of rural differentiation as well as the comprehensive research of its internal mechanism, which includes various theories such as the global countryside, rural reconstruction, rural differentiation, multifunctional agriculture, amenities migration and innovation theory. Since 2008, under the influence of global climate change and food crisis, rural geography has turned to global ecological research and sought for the sustainable development of rural areas, and developed concepts and theory related to natural ecology, such as sustainable livelihood, community resilience, vulnerability, ecological economy and biological economy. Chinese rural geography theory and method research urgently need a integrated multidisciplinary fusion between Chinese and western rural study, based on the theory of territorial system of human-environment interaction, comprehensively deepen from the system perspective of element, structure and function to analyze rural production, living, ecological, economic, social, cultural and other multidimensional space process about differentiation, reconstruction and governance as well as its motivation and control mechanism for developing rural theory of territorial system of human-environment interaction.