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Wes, Vern and Otis are three cowhands on the way to a cattle drive. Coming upon what is to be an omen of their future... an outlaw hung by a group of vigilantes...the trio finds shelter at a cabin, only to discover that their "hosts" are men who have robbed a stagecoach and killed the guard. When an avenging posse attacks the cabin, Wes and Vern escape, only to find that they have become branded as 'outlaws' by the posse, who relentlessly pursue them. Written by
During the making of this film Jack Nicholson told Harry Dean Stanton that he should basically not do anything and let the wardrobe do the acting for him. Dean Stanton has stated in interviews that this particular piece of advice really solidified his approach to acting. See more »
Right before saying he lost his spurs, Wes (Jack Nicholson) is shown carrying them, then not carrying them (and the spurs are nowhere in sight as he is not wearing them either), then carrying them again, then being shot at and dropping them. See more »
This is the 'less work I done on a weekday since I was 4, 'less I was sick.
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No romantic adventure, but a struggle for survival
If you are looking for a romantic Western with traditional good guys battling against the forces of evil, then you have come to the wrong place. There are no heroes and no villains, just ordinary men and women struggling against the elements for survival. No one has an easy life, neither homesteader nor outlaw. The drudgery of the former is shown by the farmer hacking away endlessly at the stubborn stump that refuses to give up its hold. The folly of the latter comes into focus when the vigilante posse catches up with its quarry. Knowing that a life of punching cows will get them nowhere, three cowboys, played excellently by Jack Nicholson, Cameron Mitchell and Tom Filer, briefly consider joining up with the outlaw gang they've been forced to spend the night with. Not having the outlaw nature, the cowboys reject that option and determine that they best separate themselves at first light. However, by then it is too late. The vigilantes have both the outlaws and them surrounded and open fire. If they surrender, they will be hanged, no questions asked. If they try to ride out, they will be shot down. They can only climb out of the valley up the mountains, leaving their horses behind. However, as stated by one of the cowboys, it is no country to be set afoot. Thus, their enemy becomes not only the men tracking them down but also the harsh environment into which they are thrust and must overcome. That struggle is the essence of what this marvelous film is all about.
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