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In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in self-defense, the town leaders decide it's time for a change. That ask for Patch's resignation, but he refuses on the basis that the town on hiring him had promised him the job for as long as he wanted it. Afraid for the town's future and even more afraid of the fact that Marshal Patch knows all the town's dark secrets, the city fathers decide that old-style violence is the only way to rid themselves of the unwanted lawman. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Star Richard Widmark and original director Robert Totten had "artistic differences," and Totten was replaced by Don Siegel. When the film was completed, Siegel, saying that Totten directed more of the film than he did, refused to take screen credit for it, but Widmark didn't want Totten's name on it. A compromise was reached whereby the film was credited to the fictitious "Alan Smithee" (originally to be called Al Smith, but the DGA said there had already been a director by that name), thereby setting a precedent for directors who, for one reason or another, did not want their name on a film they made. See more »
I can't charge you for crying on my sheets.
I had too much to drink.
Of course you did, lover.
Take the money.
For what? If a pipefitter can't lay pipe, he ought to try another business.
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"surprisingly effective comment on the passing of the frontier"
There are some pleasant and perceptive touches to this parable of the passing of the old west and the inevitability of the arrival of civilized society. This film mirrors at least two other films from 1969, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and THE WILD BUNCH. All three films try to capture the sunset of their anachronistic characters. Pike Bishop and Frank Patch have much in common. There is no room for them anymore in the West they knew. Bishop and Butch and Sundance light out for sunnier climes only to meet explosive endings. Frank Patch sees himself as a force for stability, a safeguard against primal urges that simmer on the surface and are kept in check only because he is the law. He underestimates the political climate of his town and the passion the town burghers are willing to unleash to remove him from office. Rather then move on, he is compelled to stay. I would especially like to recommend the pastoral scene where the local politicos convoy out to the fishing hole where Patch and young Dan are spending the day. It is a beautiful composition.
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