A band of vigilantes catch Jed Cooper and, incorrectly believing him guilty of cattle rustling and murder, hang him and leave him for dead. But he doesn't die. He returns to his former profession of lawman to hunt down his lynchers and bring them to justice. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Interesting Commentary on the Criminal Justice System
Eastwood, as Jed Cooper, sits on both sides of the fence in American criminal jurisprudence. First, he is hung (although they didn't get the job done) in a deputized mob lynching. After he recuperates (the first time), he returns to his career as lawman to help a "hangin' judge" grease the wheels of justice. Of course all that Cooper really wants is to see justice done to the mob that lynched him. He soon finds out that his transgressors were "men of the community" or leading town folk.
The irony is plentiful in this film. For example, the two young men who go peacefully in an impossible 3 day ride, submit completely to the new Marshall. How are they rewarded? Well, they are hung of course! This really sets the tone of the film. The audience quickly recognizes that the "hangin' judge" just might me a bit too effective in his role of "statemaker."
While the movie does get a bit tedious, the story is razor sharp, the soundtrack is good although a bit epic, and the acting is very well done.
One is left with a sympathy for the men Cooper is hunting. Of course, this is a deliberate result of the filmmakers who meant this to be a commentary on capital punishment. Well, I enjoyed the film despite the deeply woven propaganda.
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