Wes, Vern and Otis are three cowhands on the way to a cattle drive. Coming upon what is to be an omen of their future... an outlaw hung by a group of vigilantes...the trio finds shelter at a cabin, only to discover that their "hosts" are men who have robbed a stagecoach and killed the guard. When an avenging posse attacks the cabin, Wes and Vern escape, only to find that they have become branded as 'outlaws' by the posse, who relentlessly pursue them.Written by
Former Roger Corman collaborator Monte Hellman directed two of the most underrated American movies of the 1960s/70s 'The Shooting', a puzzling western starring Warren Oates and Jack Nicholson, and the existential road movie 'Two-Lane Blacktop'. 'Ride In The Whirlwind' was shot simultaneously with 'The Shooting', and while it isn't as impressive as that film it's still very good, and one of the most underrated Westerns of the 1960s. Jack Nicholson once again stars, and also scripted. He and Hellman made a great team, and it's just a pity that they didn't continue to collaborate. A few other actors from 'The Shooting' also appear, most notably the sultry Millie Perkins, though she has a much smaller role in this one. Nicholson is ably supported by legendary character actors Cameron Mitchell ('Hombre', 'The Klansman', 'The Toolbox Murders') and Harry Dean Stanton ('Cool Hand Luke', 'Repo Man', 'The Last Temptation Of Christ'). Watching these three guys work off each other is reason enough to see this. (Also hunt down the Bruce Dern biker obscurity 'The Rebel Rousers' which they all appear in, thought it's nowhere near as good) Hellman's westerns are minimalistic and a bit of an acquired taste, but I really like them a lot. 'Ride In The Whirlwind' is easier to get into than 'The Shooting'. It's more straightforward, but still a very subtle and interesting movie, and Nicholson and Mitchell's contrasting acting styles bounce off each other really well. Recommended.
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