Shane rides into a conflict between cattleman Ryker and a bunch of settlers, like Joe Starrett and his family, whose land Ryker wants. When Shane beats up Ryker's man Chris, Ryker tries to buy him. Then Shane and Joe take on the whole Ryker crew. Ryker sends to Cheyenne for truly evil gunslinger Wilson. Shane must clear out all the guns from the valley. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
A gunslinger, a farmer, a wife, a little boy, a dog, and some dastardly villains....
I first saw "Shane" from the back seat of a '51 Ford, at a drive-in theater somewhere in Montana. The movie was new, and I was about 4 years old. From that time, I remember quiet male voices and the ring of spurs. Those sounds have lived in my mind for decades.
"Shane" is a classic -- no, not a bang-bang shoot-em-up B Western, but it is a solid Western that gives fans of the genre some something to think about besides "they went thataway." The scenery (Jackson Hole, Wyoming) is grand and was even moreso on the big screen. When well known Western novelist A.B. Guthrie wrote the screenplay, he kept fairly faithful to Jack Schaefer's novel. The movie makes a reasonable attempt, for that time, to look authentic in costume and gear, and gives fans of the movies of the '40s and '50s some interesting cinematic moments (see the small things, like how the camera was used to make Alan Ladd seem more "heroic").
I'd probably recast some of the secondary roles, if I had the chance, but Ladd's soft-spoken, gentlemanly way is just right for Shane, and Jack Palance is subtly evil.
Yes, "Shane" contains a few clichés, but they weren't yet quite so cliché, in 1953. Besides, they were well done clichés, so, while you may recognize them, you probably won't mind them.
But, what's "Shane" about, exactly?...
Courage. Loyalty. Honor. Friendship.
It will leave you wishing you knew what happened next.
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