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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
Director Sam Peckinpah tried to get this movie produced for years, but unfortunately he died before he had the chance. See more »
A Coke vending machine is clearly labeled ten cents. In this part of the country in the late 1940s it would have been five cents. Around 1960 vending machines went to six cents, quite a novelty at the time, requiring two coins to get a Coke. It was later in the 1960s when vending machines finally went to ten cents. See more »
This movie has all the ingredients to make a great movie. It is beautifully photographed with wonderful western landscapes. It has one of Woody Harrelson's best performances as a hard drinking, hard working, hard loving good old boy rancher. It has excellent support from Sam Elliot, Billy Crudup and Penelope Cruz. It is set in the late 40's, early 50's when small independent ranchers are being replaced by large commercial farms.
The problem with this movie is that is focuses way too much on the three way relationship between Billy Crudup, Woody Harrelson and Patricia Arquette. Arquette and Harrelson are lovers and Crudup lusts after Arquette. This relationship is not believable because Arquette's character is untrustworthy, amoral, and a liar. The woman who is more interested in Crudup is the Penelope Cruz character. The movie never explains why Crudup would prefer Arquette over the much more beautiful and sexy Cruz.
The Sam Elliot character is wasted. He does a good job of portraying the businessman rancher. He is not evil, but all the small time ranchers hate him because he is contributing to, and a symbol of, the end of small ranches. But it is not Sam Elliot that is destroying the small ranches, it is the progress of commercialization which Sam Elliot represents. It is this contradiction between good person Sam Elliot is and the evil that he represents that makes is character so interesting. This movie should have been more about Sam Elliot.
The movie falls apart into silly soap opera / action movie like scenes at the end. It abandons the interesting character study and gives us emergency rescues in a storm, deaths, murders, cover-ups and "dramatic" revelations. Those scenes belong in some other movie.
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