This story chronicles the lives of three men and a divorcée in the Nevada mountains. Clark Gable, in his final film, is a wandering, over-the-hill, middle-aged cowboy who corrals wild mustangs for slaughter with Eli Wallach, his buddy and an aviator whose plane locates and traps the horses for Gable's unerring lariats. Marilyn Monroe, always fetching, has rid herself of her husband and has come west to find meaning for her life. Montogomery Clift is a washed-up bronc and bull rider, and the four major characters come together, with each one beset by emotional traumas from their pasts. A major theme throughout the film is regret about disappointments, missed opportunities, failed family and personal relationships. The unhappy, wistful thread of the movie is mirrored by the stark black and white photography and the distant mountain vistas. The beauteous Monroe is coveted by the three men but seems partial to Gable, perhaps of his detached persona and laid-back approach to life. Wallach makes no secret of his obsession with Monroe and spares nothing in his attempt to win her for himself. Clift, along for the ride because of Gable's taunts about the disgrace of earning wages, brings his usual brooding quality to the film and seems disillusioned because he has no psychological anchor in his life. Thelma Ritter, always excellent in supporting roles, appears with Monroe early in the story but disappears midway through and is not seen again. Gable's stunt work with the wild horses is thrilling and is the film's highlight but may have cost him dearly with the wear and tear he took doing these scenes. The film is a fine coda to the careers of two of Hollywood's most storied personalities.
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