Andrew’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a great classic western, but one that subverts your expectations.
I say that because when I think classic westerns I think about the white hats and black hats that make us that classic western iconography. This film does lay out the good and bad guy, but it gives the bad guys such rich and charismatic lines, and a persona of sympathy at times. The classic western would never have made the heel such a likable and compassionate person.
Part of the success of this film comes from the performances. Glenn Ford is amazing as the outlaw with a hidden streak of honor. Van Heflin is also great as the down-on-his-luck rancher who agrees to take Ford’s character to the train station, despite his gang of villains are sure to try to stop him by any means possible.
The story was written by a favorite of mine, Elmore Leonard. If you are familiar with this work, you can see his fingerprints all over this story.
The cinematography here is very strong as well. There is a great selection and use of POV shots and close-ups. They are not over used, so when they are employed they are very effective. The theme song in this film is pretty marvelous as well.
I did feel like the end of the film was a bit of a cop out, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was setting you up for this type of ending all along the story. But still I wasn't satisfied with the ending.