Welcome to Hard Times ★★★★

A dark, emotionally intense Western where a nameless mans shows up in an isolated town called Hard Times and proceeds to beat, rape and then literally burn the entire place to the ground while Henry Fonda, who people turn to for help, refuses to get involved.

Fonda decides to rebuild the town but knows that the "Bad Man" will one day be back. No one, not Fonda, not the townspeople, nor the viewer really know if Fonda will act when the time comes.

This is a really powerful film with Fonda perfectly cast and the settings dreary enough that you can almost feel the desolation of the winter the people suffer through without walls on their burnt out homes and no hope for the future. Everyone is looking to Fonda to lead the way but he's more wracked with guilt and fear than anyone. It's a film that's bookended by scenes of carnage and fire while the middle is bleak even at the best of times.

It's an apt title for a film that seems to enjoy putting its characters through hell. Highly recommended if you like grim Westerns.