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You never know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys
In 1883 in Dakota Territory, a bounty hunter named Cochrane is chasing after Cincinnati John Mason ("I've never been to Cincinnati", Mason frequently tells people). We later learn three men died because of him and while they might not have had high moral standards, Cochrane says, "The law is the law." Mason was also connected with the death of a prisoner in Mexico whose family wanted justice; someone was told to release one or the other, and Mason was released. Mason may have killed people for The Pinkertons. He does admit to having been a Texas ranger.
A gang wearing masks robs the mail in Wyoming and several people on both sides are shot.
At a card game in Montana, Mason has three aces while the other man has three kings. I'm not clear on who was cheating but a number of guns are drawn and Mason needs to get out of town. He meets Ben McClure at a campfire.
In Promise, Wyoming, Mason meets up with his father who is not happy to see him. He also meets up with Alice who is attractive, intelligent and tough, and very happy to see him. However, Ben McClure wants to marry her. This becomes a problem later. Alice seems to be the closest thing Promise has to a doctor, though maybe we just don't see the doctor in the movie.
Alice's brother Rodd is about to lose the family ranch, and he is prepared to do anything. He even considers the ranch more important than his sister. Rodd needs $5000, and money like that is hard to get legally. Mason says he doesn't do that any more.
The masked gang shows up again. At least I assume it is them. They wear the same masks. The only way to be sure is that some, or maybe all, have double X on their shoulder. We are told this is the first time someone has died.
There are railway workers who are getting paid more now than they used to. Someone has to deliver the money, and Ben and Mason volunteer to do the job at different times. Each time there is a problem. We can't really be sure what Mason's intentions are. Meanwhile, Cochrane finally catches up with Mason.
This is a standard Western, with nothing particularly special except that it's never clear just who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. There's lots of fightin' and shootin' and not too much blood. Several people die but most of them we didn't really know.
Donald Sutherland gives one of the standout performances, but doesn't he always?
Jill Hennessy also does a great job.
This was cleaned up for TV. One word network TV doesn't tend to allow did slip through, but a number of other words got bleeped. A lot of them. Cleaned up, it's probably no worse than most Westerns, but not as clean as the family-friendly Westerns of the distant past.
I just watched this because it was on. You might like it if you like Westerns.
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