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The year is 1866 and the bloodiest conflict in American history - the Civil War - has recently come to an end. Miles away in the isolated countryside of Texas, two families neighbor one another. The Rileys trap animals and sell their pelts for a meager living, while the McCluskeys, having lost their proud cattle business to the war, steal from the weaker Rileys' traps. That is, until WADE, favorite uncle to the Riley children and an embattled war veteran, visits his family to find reprieve from the horrors he has seen. Wade learns of the McCluskeys' misdoings and takes it upon himself to put a stop to them and before long, finds himself with another war on his hands - this time, one of his own making.
Most Westerns show something totally unrealistic. This shows something like it would actually have been.
First, everyone is poor. The trapper family have always been poor. Their neighbours were once prosperous cattle ranchers, but their cattle are gone. They are reduced to trapping, but they don't have much skill with it. They trap illegally on the land of the trapper family.
The head of the family, whose wife has died, is religious and puts up with it. But his brother-in-law gets offended and feels the need to do something about it.
Separately from this, the daughter of the house is seeing one of the sons of the former rancher.
All this happens shortly after the Southern defeat in the US Civil War. Both the rancher family and the returned brother-in-law fought for the South. The brother-in-law is haunted by memories - what we'd now call Post-Traumatic Stress.
A slow-burning conflict develops from there. Not exactly an action movie, but showing the grim reality that most films ignore. It clearly doesn't please those who expect Westerns to be like live-action video games.
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