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Ride the High Country (1962)

Approved | | Western | 14 July 1962 (Japan)
An ex-union soldier is hired to transport gold from a mining community through dangerous territory. But what he doesn't realize is that his partner and old friend is plotting to double-cross him.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ron Starr ...
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Jenie Jackson ...
Kate
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Jimmy Hammond
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Henry Hammond
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Storyline

Aging ex-marshal Steve Judd is hired by a bank to transport a gold shipment through dangerous territory. He hires an old partner, Gil Westrum, and his young protege Heck to assist him. Steve doesn't know, however, that Gil and Heck plan to steal the gold, with or without Steve's help. On the trail, the three get involved in a young woman's desire to escape first from her father, then from her fiance and his dangerously psychotic brothers. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

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Taglines:

Showdown in the High Sierras!

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

14 July 1962 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Guns in the Afternoon  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$813,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joel McCrea said that although he got along very well with Sam Peckinpah, he didn't like the way the director treated the crew. Like John Ford, Peckinpah used to berate someone mercilessly if they made a mistake or failed to do what he wanted. Richard Lyons said on this picture, Peckinpah began his practice of firing people for one mistake, such as a young sound boom operator who allowed the boom to creep into the shot. The harsh practice became such a habit that even Peckinpah acknowledged he was prone to it, giving Lyons a photo of himself signed "To Dick Lyons--Get rid of 'em-Sam Peckinpah." See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning, Randolph Scott claims to have been the Oregon Kid, who tamed Witchita among other cities. It should have been Wichita. See more »

Quotes

Elsa Knudsen: What's gonna happen to him?
Steve Judd: The boy? I'll testify for him. They shouldn't be too hard.
Elsa Knudsen: Will you testify for Mr. Westrum?
Steve Judd: No, I wont.
Elsa Knudsen: Why?
Steve Judd: Because he was my friend.
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Crazy Credits

Introducing Mariette Hartley See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

For She's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung at the wedding
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User Reviews

 
Revisonist splendour as Peckinpah starts his thematic obsession.
4 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

"All I want is to Enter My House Justified"

Sam Peckinpah's second feature film is today standing up as a must see and must own for those interested in the Western genre.

The film sees ageing lawman Steve Judd land a job of escorting a gold shipment safely to a bank in Hornitos. After running into old friend, and fellow aged lawman Gil Westrun, he hires both he and his young sparky sidekick Heck Longtree to hopefully see the job through to a successful conclusion. Yet Gil has other ideas, for where Steve is upstanding and adhering to the values he has lived his life by, Gil sees this as one last chance to actually get a big payday. The journey takes a further twist as the three men meet and then save Elsa Knudsen from a brutal marriage, it's an incident that puts them all on a collision course with the Hammond brothers.

What we have here is Sam Peckinpah's first film dealing with men who have outlived their time. We witness some emotionally poignant stuff as the two main protagonists know that they have aged beyond their world, yet as alike as they are, they have different ideals in how to deal with the advent of time. The masterstroke here is the casting of genre legends Joel McRea & Randolph Scott as Steve & Gil respectively. It's evident from the off that both men are identifying with their characters, with both men hitting top emotional form to fully realise the thematic heart of the story. Mariette Hartley makes her film debut as Elsa, and she fits in nicely with the quality on show behind and in front of the camera. Lucien Ballard's cinematography is gorgeous as the various California locations envelope the protagonists in a sort of elegiac way, and Peckinpah directs with his heart as well as his head.

Bookended by two heart-achingly super sequences, of which the finale has rightly passed into Western genre legend, this really is a strong and beautiful film. One that shows a truly great director was at work. For here he was left alone, and the final result is a quality Western beating far more than just a cowboy heart. The supporting cast is strong, notably Edgar Buchanan, L.Q. Jones & John Anderson. While the undervalued George Bassman provides a fittingly tonal music score. If there is a criticism, it's that Peckinpah doesn't let the younger characters breath, but given the film's core focus on aged men in an aged passing era: well it's easily forgiven. A precursor to The Wild Bunch for sure, but while the theme is the same for both film's, this one impacts in a very different way. Highly recommended, not just for the Oater crowd, but for fans of classic cinema too. 9/10


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