Peckinpah's flamboyant 'The Wild Bunch' and Leone's innovative spaghetti westerns of the 1960s are among my all time favourites, but the stir they created overshadowed some gems that are now unfairly overlooked - Brando's 'One-Eyed Jacks', and Monte Hellman's 'Ride In The Whirlwind' and 'The Shooting' immediately spring to mind. Those three movies all have strong cult followings (just ask Quentin Tarantino!), but for some reason the same can't be said for 'Will Penny'. I don't know why, as it's one of the best westerns I've ever seen. Charlton Heston is of course, a MOVIE STAR and also a controversial figure because of his politics, but sometimes people seem to forget that he could be a damn fine actor when he tried. I think 'Will Penny' is his best performance. Heston plays a low key character, an aging cowboy who is tired of his life but believes it is all he can do. Maybe this is the main reason why 'Will Penny' has been forgotten. He's basically a decent guy, not a larger than life John Wayne hero, or a Clint Eastwood anti-hero. Heston regards Tom Gries' script as one of the finest he's ever read, and I must agree with him. Gries was a TV veteran but this was his big break as a motion picture director. Despite the talent he showed he never became a name director, though he worked steadily until his death in the mid-70s, and was responsible for a few well known films including the Manson movie 'Helter Skelter'. Heston is surrounded by an impeccable supporting cast. His two buddies are played by a young Lee Majors and Anthony Zerbe ('Cool Hand Luke', 'The Omega Man'). Joan Hackett is very good as the woman squatter Penny befriends (her on screen son is played by Tom Gries real life son, who is also excellent). Donald Pleasence is fantastic fun as a crazed preacher, and he and his eldest son (played by Bruce Dern, one of my all time favourite actors) make terrific villains (Dern is always a terrific villain!). Western legends Ben Johnson and Slim Pickens play a ranch foreman and a cook respectively, and then there's character actors galore - G.D. Spradlin, Clifton James, William Schallert, Luke Askew, Matt Clark, Roy Jenson. Off the top of my head, it's difficult to think of a 1960s western with a more impressive cast. 'Will Penny' is a movie crying out to be rediscovered! I highly recommend it to western fans.