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Ride the High Country (1962)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 7,989 users  
Reviews: 110 user | 42 critic

An ex-lawman is hired to transport gold from a mining community through dangerous territory. But what he doesn't realize is that his partner and old friend is plotting to double-cross him.

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Title: Ride the High Country (1962)

Ride the High Country (1962) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Elsa Knudsen
Ron Starr ...
Heck Longtree
...
Judge Tolliver
...
Joshua Knudsen
Jenie Jackson ...
Kate
...
Billy Hammond
...
Sylvus Hammond
...
Elder Hammond
John Davis Chandler ...
Jimmy Hammond
...
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Storyline

Aging ex-marshal Steve Judd is hired by a bank to transport a gold shipment through dangerous territory. He hires an old partner, Gil Westrum, and his young protege Heck to assist him. Steve doesn't know, however, that Gil and Heck plan to steal the gold, with or without Steve's help. On the trail, the three get involved in a young woman's desire to escape first from her father, then from her fiance and his dangerously psychotic brothers. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gold | gold shipment | friend | partner | bank | See more »

Taglines:

Showdown in the High Sierras!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 July 1962 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Ride the High Country  »

Box Office

Budget:

$813,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Average Shot Length = ~5.9 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~5.3 seconds. See more »

Goofs

The "snow" shown on the ground in a number of scenes in the mining camp is obviously foam. This is clear from, for example, the scene when Billy Hammond (James Drury) throws his brother Jimmy (John Davis Chandler) out of the "honeymoon" tent onto his back. The "snow" splatters like foam, not snow. See more »

Quotes

Gil Westrum: [with sarcasm] Dandy pair of boots you got there.
Steve Judd: Juan Fernandez made those boots for me in San Antone - special order. I had a hell of a time getting him to put that hole in there. Fine craftsman, Juan, but he never did understand the principle of ventilation.
Gil Westrum: I remember Juan - always felt the boot should cover the foot.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Introducing Mariette Hartley See more »


Soundtracks

For She's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dignity and strength of character
15 December 2003 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

"In simple terms, Ride the High Country was about salvation and loneliness"

  • Sam Peckinpah


Both in their 60s at the time, Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott summed up their careers in Sam Peckinpah's second film, Ride the High Country. After two hundred films between them, this was Scott's final film and McCrea's second to last. The film was shot in only twenty-six days and played mostly as bottom filler for double bills. It was only after winning first prize at the Cannes Film Festival that it began to be appreciated for the true classic it is. Set in the early days of the century, the days of the cowpoke are giving way to the modern modes of transportation and communication. People like lawman Steve Judd (Joel McCrea), with a reputation for fierce integrity may be obsolete in the New West but his dignity and strength of character make him a hero worthy of admiration.

The film is both a lament for the passing of the Old West and a gentle celebration of humanity's search for friendship, honor, and trust. Both men feel they have somehow failed to live up to their standards and want one more chance to redeem their honor. Judd wants to recapture some measure of self-respect while Westrum looks for the material wealth that has always eluded him. As the film opens, Judd hires his ex-deputy Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott) to help him transport a shipment of gold bullion down from the high Sierras, a job in which six prior attempts ended in failure. Against Judd's advice, they bring along a third man - a wild, womanizing youth named Heck Longtree (Ron Starr), who proves to them that he can handle himself in a fistfight.

Things get complicated when they spend the night at a farm run by puritanical Joshua Knudson (R.G. Armstrong) and Heck is taken with his beautiful daughter Elsa (Mariette Hartley). Feeling thwarted by her possessive and moralizing father, Elsa runs away with the trio hoping to find a miner, Billy Hammond (James Drury) who has promised to marry her. As they ride up into the hills, the cinematography by Lucien Ballard reflects the beauty of the West as it has rarely been seen. When they arrive, things go from bad to worse for Elsa. Preceded by a marvelously comic horseback parade in which the boys sing When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, she is married to Billy in a saloon presided over by an inebriated judge.

Unfortunately, she has to be rescued by Judd after Billy Boy plans to share his bride with his four redneck brothers on their wedding night. The wedding scene is shown from Elsa's point of view and it is sympathetic and touching. On the way back with the gold, however, Gil turns on his old friend, plotting with Heck to steal the gold. In a famous exchange, Gil asks Judd, `Pardner, you know what's on the back of a poor man when he dies? The clothes of pride. Is that all you want?' To this Judd replies `All I want is to enter my house justified.' When the travelers encounter the Hammond boys waiting to ambush them at the farm, both men must confront their deepest fears and their noblest truths.


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