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Ross Bodine and Frank Post are cowhands on Walt Buckman's R-Bar-R ranch. Bodine is older and broods a bit about how he will get along when he's too old to cowboy. Post is young and rambunctious and ambitious for a better life than wrangling cows. When one of their fellow cowboys is killed in a corral accident, Post suggests a way into a better life for himself and his friend: robbing a bank. Bodine reluctantly joins in the plan and the two contrive to rob the local bank. They make good their escape initially, but Walt Buckman and his two sons, John and Paul, are incensed at this betrayal by their own trusted employees. John and Paul set out to bring Bodine and Post to justice. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This is not a film about which you hear a great deal, which is a shame because it is one of the most enjoyable westerns I have seen for a long time. I think the problem lies in the fact that it tries to be too many different things and cover too many bases. It is funny, but not as funny as BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID; it is elegaic, but not as elegaic as PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID; it is violent, but not as violent as THE WILD BUNCH; and it is beautiful, but not as beautiful as JEREMIAH JOHNSON.
It may sound odd but the film it most resembles, in as much as it combines all these elements, is THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT. We have a mismatched pairing of a wise man and a headstrong youth who combine to pull off a major robbery. They are pursued relentlessly by an almost psychotic adversary. They meet a tragic end. This may sound like high praise and indeed it should because this is a fine movie and I never thought I'd say that about a Blake Edwards movie.
There are moments within this film which you rarely get in a run of the mill western. For instance I never see a western which deals so well with the equivocal relationship between a cowboy and animals. This film is full of them: sheep, cows, horses, mules, cougars, cats and dogs. And not just in passing either. All the best westerns have a snowbound sequence but not many of them combine it with a horse-breaking scene, as this movie does to breathtaking effect.
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