The Hi-Lo Country (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Western  |  22 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 3,636 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 44 critic

An intimate story of the enduring bond of friendship between two hard-living men, set against a sweeping backdrop: the American West, post-World War II, in its twilight. Pete and Big Boy ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Little Boy Matson
Levi Gomez
Darren E. Burrows ...
Billy Harte (as Darren Burrows)
Delfino Mondragon
Jack Couffer
Sandy Baron ...
Mona Birk
Les Birk
Craig Carter ...
Art Logan
Walter C. Hall ...


An intimate story of the enduring bond of friendship between two hard-living men, set against a sweeping backdrop: the American West, post-World War II, in its twilight. Pete and Big Boy are masters of the prairie, but ultimately face trickier terrain: the human heart. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A woman like Mona can drive men to extremes.


Drama | Romance | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, a scene of violence, and for brief language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:


| |


Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hi-Lo Country  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,712 (USA) (1 January 1999)


$163,810 (USA) (12 March 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final acting role of Sandy Baron. See more »


After Billy urinates on Steve Shaw and the lawyer in the bar, different shots do not show any urine on the floor or table where they had been sitting. See more »


Big Boy Matson: One look at her makes my teeth itch.
See more »

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User Reviews

Hi-Low Characters/Plot are Near perfect
2 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

HI-LOW's characters, with Big Boy and Pete central, and Mona as the obsessive lure for both, were perfectly developed and portrayed. Big Boy was a prototypical strutting, macho "stud duck" in a remote west-Texas grain farming and cattle region, along the base of the sharp, towering escarpment which splits the LOW and HIGH PLAINS. Big Boy and Pete were among the WWII combat veterans returning home to find draft dodgers acquiring property and wealth by any means -- most often questionable legal tactics. This happened throughout the Western U.S., even the Mid-West and South East. Many of these accumulated great wealth, but without respect within their communities or region. That lack of respect continues for many of their wealthy families to this date among "natives." Mona represented forbidden fruit, not because of anything she controlled, because she was a lost soul out of control, trapped in a miserable marriage to one of the despised prototypes of the era, a WWII draft dodger, who was foreman for the villain's growing ranch. Sam Elliott's villain earned the scorn by becoming a totally unscrupulous wealthy draft dodger. Mona was a poor, ill-educated nearly starving woman during the war years, forced to make a choice between abject poverty and creature comforts in a loveless marriage as trophy wife to a cowardly excuse of a man. "Draft Dodging" was the one unforgivable sin for any man of that era. Sleeping with his wife, and taking her, was "morally right." The Cruz character could not have more perfectly developed and portrayed as a young Latina woman, a "Mexican" in that culture. English was not her primary language. Attractive, and especially "available" Latinas were welcome to dance in the "whites' tonks", while in most communities, "Mexican" males might be permitted to stand along a back wall. At the end, while loving her, Pete still walked away because mixed marriage was unacceptable. In remote 1940s western areas, "dime vending machines' were common.

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