The Ox Bow Incident

  • Directors: William A Wellman
  • Producers: Lamar Trotti
  • Writers: Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Lamar Trotti
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Western
  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews

The Ox-Bow Incident takes place in Nevada in 1885[3] and begins with Art Croft (Harry Morgan) and Gil Carter (Henry Fonda) riding into the town of Bridger’s Wells. They go into Darby’s Saloon and find that the atmosphere is subdued, in part because of the recent incidents of cattle-rustling (the stealing of livestock) in the vicinity. Everyone wants to catch the thieves.

Gil learns that his former girlfriend left town at the start of the spring and drinks heavily to drown his sorrows. Art and Gil are possible rustler suspects simply because they are not often seen in town. The townspeople are wary of them, and a fight breaks out between Gil and a local rancher named Farnley (Marc Lawrence). Immediately after the fight, another man races into town on horseback, goes into the saloon and announces that a rancher named Larry Kinkaid has been murdered. The townspeople immediately form a posse to pursue the murderers, who they believe to be the cattle rustlers. The posse is told by the local judge that they must bring the presumed rustlers back alive for trial, and that their deputization by a deputy is illegal, but little heed is taken of this. Art and Gil join the posse as well, as much to avoid being its target as to participate. Davies (Harry Davenport), who is vehemently opposed to forming the posse because of its capacity for “mob rule”, also joins. Among the other people in the posse are “Major” Tetley (Frank Conroy) and his son, Gerald (William Eythe). The major informs the posse that three men with cattle bearing Kinkaid’s brand have just entered Bridger’s Pass, and therefore shouldn’t be too difficult to catch.

The men of the posse gather back in Canby’s Saloon and drink in silence. Major Tetley returns to his house and locks the door so his son cannot come in. His son yells at him through the door, telling him what he thinks of him. Major Tetley walks into another room and shoots himself. In the saloon, Gil reads Martin’s letter out loud to Art while the other members of the posse are listening. In the closing scene, mirroring the initial scene, Gil and Art ride out of town to deliver the letter to Martin’s wife and family.

Jonah Hex

  • Directors: Jimmy Hayward
  • Producers: Akiva Goldsman, Andrew Lazar
  • Writers: Neveldine Taylor, William Farmer, John Albano, Tony Dezuniga
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Horror, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox

Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich) is a Confederate veteran of the Civil War who is trying to fight and re-win the war, and scarred bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Brolin) must stop him.[3]

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  • Directors: John Huston
  • Producers: Henry Blanke
  • Writers: B Traven, John Huston
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western, Action
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

This is the context in which the three gringos band together in a small Mexican town and set out to strike it rich in the remote Sierra Madre mountains. They ride a train into the hinterlands, surviving a bandit attack en route. Once out in the desert, Howard, the old-timer of the group, quickly proves to be by far the toughest and most knowledgeable; he is the one to discover the gold they are seeking. A mine is dug, and much gold is extracted. Greed soon sets in and Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) begins to lose both his trust and his sanity, lusting to possess the entire treasure. Dobbs is also paranoid that he will be killed by his partners. At this time a fourth American shows up, which sets up a moral debate about what to do with the new stranger. The bandits then reappear, pretending, very crudely, to be Federales, which leads to the now-iconic line about not needing to show any “stinking badges”. After a gunfight, and the fouth American is killed, a real troop of Federales appear and drive the bandits away.

But when Howard is called away to assist some local villagers, Dobbs and third partner Curtin have a final confrontation, which Dobbs wins, leaving Curtin lying shot and presumed dead. However, Curtin crawls to safety. Later, Dobbs is murdered (via decapitation) by some surviving bandits, who, in their ignorance, scatter the gold to the winds. Curtin is discovered and taken to Howard’s village, where he recovers. He and Howard miss witnessing the bandits’ execution by Federales by only a few minutes as they arrive back in town, and learn that the gold is gone. While checking the areas that the bandits dropped the gold, Howard realizes that the winds must have carried the gold away. They accept the loss with equanimity, and then part ways, Howard returning to his village, and Curtin returning home to America.

Per un pugno di dollari

  • Directors: Sergio Leone
  • Producers: Arrigo Colombo, Giorgio Papi
  • Writers: Sergio Leone, A Bonzzoni, Jaime Comas Gil
  • Genres: Action, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, Joseph Egger, Antonio Prieto, Mario Brega, Wolfgang Lukschy, Sieghardt Rupp, Benny Reeves

A Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood), arrives at a little Mexican border town named San Miguel. He is quickly introduced to the feud between two families vying to gain control the town: the Rojo brothers, consisting of Don Miguel (the eldest and nominally in charge), Esteban (Sieghardt Rupp) (the most headstrong) and Ramón (the most capable and intelligent, played by Gian Maria Volontè, who would reappear in For a Few Dollars More as the psychopathic El Indio), and the family of so-called “town sheriff” John Baxter (Wolfgang Lukschy).

The Stranger quickly spies an opportunity to make a “fistful of dollars” and decides to play both families against each other. His opportunity comes when a detachment of Mexican soldiers escorting a shipment of gold passes through the town. The gold is ostensibly being delivered to a troop of American soldiers at the border river in exchange for a shipment of modern American weapons, but upon following the Mexican troops, the Stranger watches from hiding as they are massacred by members of the Rojo gang, disguised in American uniforms and led by Ramon Rojo.

The Stranger takes two of the bodies to a nearby cemetery and sells information to both sides that two soldiers survived the attack. Both sides race to the cemetery, the Baxters to get the “survivors” to testify against the Rojos, and the Rojos to silence them. The factions engage in a fierce gunfight, but Ramon manages to kill (as he believes) the “survivors” and Esteban captures John Baxter’s son Antonio. While the Rojos and the Baxters are busy, the Stranger takes the opportunity to search the Rojo hacienda, but accidentally knocks out Ramón’s prisoner and unwilling mistress Marisol (Marianne Koch) when she surprises him. He takes her to the Baxters, who arrange for a prisoner swap with the Rojos.

The Man with No Name returns to town to engage the Rojos in a dramatic duel. He first rescues Silvanito, who was tortured to reveal the Stranger’s whereabouts. The Man with No Name kills Ramon and the remaining Rojos, except Esteban (who is shot by Silvanito), and rides away.

Maverick

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Bruce Davey, Richard Donner, Jim Van Wyck, Alexander B Collett
  • Writers: Roy Huggins, William Goldman
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Western
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner

The story, set in the American Old West, is a first-person account by a wisecracking gambler Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson), of his misadventures on the way to a major five-card draw poker tournament. Besides wanting to win the poker championship for the money, he also wants to prove, once and for all, that he is “the best”. However, complications keep getting in the way.

Maverick rides into the fictional town of Crystal River intending to collect money owed to him, as he is $3,000 short of the poker tournament entry fee of $25,000. His efforts to make up this $3,000 provide some plot motivation, as well as diversions caused by, and in the company of, three people he encounters at Crystal River: an antagonist named Angel (Alfred Molina), a young con-artist calling herself Mrs Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster), and legendary lawman Marshal Zane Cooper (James Garner, who played Bret Maverick in the original TV series). The first two are also rival poker players.

Maverick, Bransford and Cooper share a stagecoach (the driver of which dies at the reins at full gallop), agree to help a wagon train of migrant evangelist settlers who have been waylaid by ruffians (for a fee which Maverick in the end is too big-hearted to accept) and are headed-off by a troop of Indians led by Joseph (Graham Greene). Unknown to his companions, Joseph and Maverick are good friends, and Maverick allows himself to be “captured.” Joseph is another one of his unreliable debtors, and in and around his tribal grounds they collaborate on a scheme to swindle a Russian Grand Duke.

Later, Maverick is relaxing in a bath-house when Cooper finds him, and drops the facade to reveal (to the audience) that he is in fact Maverick’s father and that the real conspiracy was between the two of them. However, Bransford enters the bath-house and robs Cooper and Maverick (whose relationship she had surmised from their similar mannerisms). However, she only gets away with half of the money, as Maverick had hidden the rest in his boots. Maverick smiles and comments that it will be a lot of fun getting the rest of the money back from her.

Lonely Are the Brave

  • Directors: David Miller
  • Producers: Edward Lewis
  • Writers: Edward Abbey, Dalton Trumbo
  • Genres: Drama, Western
  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau

John W. “Jack” Burns (Kirk Douglas) works as a roaming ranch hand much as the cowboys of the old West did, refusing to join modern society. He rejects much of modern technology, not even carrying any kind of identification such as a driver’s license or Social Security card.

Burns rides up on his horse to visit Jerry (Gena Rowlands). She is the wife of an old friend named Paul Bondi who has been jailed for giving aid to illegal immigrants. Jack explains his dislike for a society that restricts a man on where he can or can’t go, what he can or can’t do.

After a violent barroom fight against a one-armed man in which he is compelled to use only one arm himself, Burns is arrested. When the police decide to let him go, he punches a cop to deliberately get himself thrown in jail so he can see Paul.

While there he incurs the wrath of a sadistic deputy (George Kennedy). Burns is badly beaten while under arrest. He tries to persuade Paul to bust out of jail, but Paul has a family and too much at stake to become a fugitive from the law, so he refuses to go. Burns breaks out by himself.

During the course of the story, the seemingly extraneous progress of a tractor-trailer truck, driven by Carroll O’Connor, is intercut with the principal events. The pursuit of Jack Burns comes to an end when the truck driver, vision impaired by rain, collides with Burns and his horse while they try to cross a busy modern highway.

Way Out West

  • Directors: James W Horne
  • Producers: Stan Laurel, Hal Roach
  • Writers: Jack Jevne, Charley Rogers, Felix Adler, James Parrott
  • Genres: Comedy, Western
  • Actors: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Rosina Lawrence

Stan and Ollie, after consorting with Seymore “Sy” Roberts, an old prospector, have been entrusted to deliver the deed to a gold mine the prospector discovered to the man’s daughter, Mary Roberts (Rosina Lawrence), a poor young woman living in Brushwood Gulch who is consistently victimized by her cruel guardians, saloon owner Mickey Finn (James Finlayson), and his equally-cruel saloon-singer wife, Lola Marcel (Sharon Lynne).

Traveling by stage coach, they attempt to flirt with the woman (Vivien Oakland) who is riding with them. She rebuffs the pair, and upon arriving in Brushwood Gulch, she complains to her husband, the town’s sheriff (Stanley Fields). The angry sheriff orders the pair to leave on the next coach out of town, or else they’ll be “riding out of here in a hearse”. Stan and Ollie promise to do so once they have completed their mission.

After dancing to “At the Ball, That’s All” by The Avalon Boys, Stan and Ollie arrive at Mickey Finn’s saloon. When Mickey Finn learns why they’re here, he has Lola play Mary in order to hijack the deed from them. Stan and Ollie have never seen Mary before, and are duped by their charade. However, before leaving town, they encounter the real Mary Roberts and immediately try to get the deed back. The evil Finns won’t surrender the deed, however, and a major struggle ensues as Stan and Ollie attempt to reclaim the deed. Stan manages to grab it, but Lola traps him in the bedroom and wrests the deed from him by tickling him into hysterics. After further chasing, Mickey and Lola manage to seal the deed into their safe. Ollie calls for the police, but the police turn out to be the angry sheriff, who chases Stan and Ollie out of town.

Unlike most of Laurel and Hardy’s films and shorts, the story ends with a happy ending as opposed to the usual ‘unfortunate ending’.

Young Guns

  • Directors: Christopher Cain
  • Producers: Christopher Cain, Joe Roth
  • Writers: John Fusco
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Jack Palance, Terence Stamp, Terry O Quinn

John Tunstall, an educated Englishman and cattle rancher in Lincoln County, New Mexico, hires wayward young gun men to live and work on his ranch. Tunstall’s ranch is in heavy competition with another well-connected rancher named Murphy and their men clash on a regular basis. Tunstall recruits Billy and tensions escalate into the murder of Tunstall. Billy (Estevez), Doc (Sutherland), Chavez (Phillips), Dick (Sheen), Dirty Steve (Mulroney), and Charlie (Siemaszko), consult their lawyer friend Alex who manages to get them deputized and given warrants for the arrest of Murphy’s murderous henchmen.

Billy quickly challenges Dick’s authority as leader of the group, vowing revenge to Murphy and the men responsible for killing Tunstall. The men call themselves “The Regulators” and begin to kill many of the men they are charged with arresting, most of them by Billy’s own hand. The men are stripped of their newly-found badges, which they find out about by reading a newspaper. That same paper also confuses Dick for Billy, showing a picture of Dick labeled “Billy the Kid”, a nickname to which Billy takes an immediate liking.

While the local authorities begin their hunt for Billy and the boys, The Regulators argue amongst each other whether to continue with their warrants or to go on the run. One of the men on their list of warrants tracks them down, barricades himself in an outhouse, and an intense shootout begins that ends up killing Dick. Billy appoints himself as the new leader of the group. The gang becomes famous and the U.S. Army are brought into the arena, charged with bringing them to justice under Murphy’s corrupt political influence.

The film was followed by its sequel, Young Guns II, in 1990.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

  • Directors: John Ford
  • Producers: Merian C Cooper, Lowell J Farrell, John Ford
  • Writers: James Warner Bellah, Frank S Nugent, Laurence Stallings
  • Genres: Western
  • Actors: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Victor McLaglen, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr

On the verge of his retirement at Fort Starke, a one-troop cavalry post, the aging US Cavalry Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles (John Wayne) is given one last patrol, to take his troop and deal with a breakout from the reservation by the Cheyenne and Arapaho following the defeat of George Armstrong Custer. His task is complicated by being forced at the same time to deliver his commanding officer’s wife and niece, Abby Allshard (Mildred Natwick) and Olivia Dandridge (Joanne Dru)), to an east-bound stage, and by the need to avoid a new Indian war. His troop officers, 1st Lt. Cohill (John Agar) and 2nd Lt. Pennell (Harry Carey, Jr.) meanwhile vie for the affections of Miss Dandridge while uneasily anticipating the retirement of their captain and mentor. Rounding out the cast are Capt. Brittles’ chief scout, Sgt. Tyree (Ben Johnson), a one-time Confederate cavalry officer; his First Sergeant, Quincannon (Victor McLaglen); and Major Allshard (George O’Brien), long-time friend and C.O.

After apparently failing in both missions, Capt. Brittles returns with the troop to Fort Starke to retire. His lieutenants continue the mission in the field, joined by Capt. Brittles after “quitting the post and the Army”. Unwilling to see more lives needlessly taken, Capt. Brittles takes it upon himself to try to make peace with Chief Pony That Walks (Chief John Big Tree). When that too fails, he devises a risky stratagem to avoid a bloody war.

High Plains Drifter

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Robert Daley
  • Writers: Ernest Tidyman, Dean Riesner
  • Genres: Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Billy Curtis

A lone man on horseback emerges from a shimmering desert horizon and heads into the fictional town of Lago, in a setting like the Arizona territory. After passing a cemetery on the town’s outskirts, he rides slowly down the main street, where the townspeople eye him warily. He exchanges a stare with three gun-toting men on the boardwalk of the saloon; then his attention is drawn sharply by the crack of a teamster’s whip.

Dismounting, this Stranger (Eastwood) goes to the saloon, for a beer and a bottle of whiskey. The gunslingers come in and bait him as a “flea-bitten range bum”, not “fast enough” for Lago. Baiting them in return, he speaks quietly, telling them only that he is “[a] lot faster than [they]’ll ever live to be.” He exits and walks across the street to the barbershop. Though unnerved by him, the barber gamely begins giving him a shave.

Within minutes, the gunslingers enter, surround the Stranger, and attempt to lay hands on him. He surprises them with his gun drawn and ready, masked by the apron the barber had tied around his neck. He shoots all three dead in seconds. Impressed, a dwarf named Mordecai approaches from the saloon and lights the Stranger’s cigar. “What did you say your name was again?” the dwarf asks. “I didn’t,” the Stranger replies.

Only as the Stranger is leaving the town, the next day, is the question of his identity addressed — cryptically. He passes Sarah, who is packing her suitcases into a wagon on which she herself will be leaving; then he passes Mordecai, who is at the cemetery. Apparently at the Stranger’s instruction, Mordecai is just finishing the inscription on a grave marker. “I never did know your name,” Mordecai says. “Yes, you do,” the Stranger replies. As the Stranger continues on, a reverse angle reveals that the marker bears the name of Marshal Jim Duncan — “Rest in Peace.” The Stranger rides away, fading into the shimmering horizon whence he came.