Western

North to Alaska

It is 1900, Nome, Alaska, where a gold rush is in full swing. Sam McCord (John Wayne) and his buddy George Pratt (Stewart Granger) have done just fine (which is shown by Sam guilelessly carrying around a bag of cold hard cash). George is going to work their claim, while Sam returns to Seattle to …

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Broken Trail

All good things must come to an end, but after four hours, I still couldn’t get enough of Broken Trail. Set in 1897, this compelling mini-series follows Print Ritter (Robert Duvall) and his nephew, Tom (Thomas Hayden Church), as they drive five hundred horses from Oregon to Wyoming. Though their journey begins as a business …

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True Grit (2010)

Mush-mouthed and cantankerous, Rooster Cogburn has little time for fools, but recognizes a tough character when he sees one. When 14-year-old headstrong Mattie Ross (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) approaches him to go on a manhunt to avenge her father’s death by a man named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), he can see that she means business. The …

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True Grit (1969)

John Wayne is so embedded in American lore as a gunslinging Western hero, that anyone can imitate his wide drawl and bowlegged stance without ever having seen one of his movies. Before sitting down and watching The Duke’s Oscar-winning performance in True Grit, I admit I had only seen him years ago in Stagecoach. I …

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Pale Rider

Clint Eastwood movies have always been essential viewing at our house, but I remember thinking that Pale Rider was especially hot. I was only about nine when I saw it the first time, and it struck me as very romantic and delightfully Little House on the Prairie-ish. I decided to revisit the whole thing this …

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The Lone Ranger

As Hollywood continues to mine the vaults of our collective pop-culture past for new (old) ideas, relaunching The Lone Ranger probably didn’t sound like a bad idea: The Wild West still manages to seem like a fresh setting in a Michael Bay world; it would be a great vehicle for not one,but two charismatic stars; …

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Australia

Baz Luhrmann, I can see what you were trying to do in the epic Australia, a Technicolor homage to your beloved homeland. A swarthy scoundrel clashes with a frosty upper-class lady, sparks fly, they make out in silhouette with a burning sunset, them BOOM! war arrives, changing their lives forever. Hmmm… Hmmm…. Why does this …

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