(Sam Peckinpah, USA, 1965): The west of Sam Peckinpah is a broke down place. It's populated by people riding around with missing limbs and unattended bullet wounds, circumscribed by borders as hotly disputed as they are regularly transgressed, strewn with bodies pecked at by carrion of...

(Henry Levin, USA, 1957): Jack Palance doesn't so much act in this movie as he haunts it. From his first appearance, in a saloon in a town where his embittered son (Anthony Perkins) drinks to forget the father who left the boy alone and a mother...

(John Ford, USA, 1924): We meet our hero, Davy Brandon, before he's grown up into George O'Brien, but he's already displaying the good-natured, chivalric pluck and fortitude that will make him the perfect man to place the final spike in the railway that will stitch America...

Ferdinando Baldi, Italy, 1968): Often enough to keep predisposed viewers (like me) sifting even the driest of frontiers, the spaghetti western leavened tired formula with spasmodic perversion, as though the default setting for tedium was to let the freak off the leash before getting back to...

(William Phillips, Canada, 2010): There's a strain in Canadian self-regard that deems it hip to play up Canadian unhipness, and Gunless is a perfectly sad-assed example of how that only inscribes a brutal circle: you only wind up unhip again. But worse because you're so self-aware....

(Raoul Walsh, USA, 1930): Even in its most modest Saturday morning serial mode the western is epic by default: it presumes a past and projects a future, and what we're watching is the passage between the two. This might explain why, even in its earliest attempts...

(Martin Ritt, USA, 1967): The movie opens with that striking closeup of Paul Newman in Apache garb, blue eyes and long black hair making for one of the more instantly  arresting images in '60s westerns. It also tells us that this will be a movie about...

(John Ford, USA, 1939): The least known of John Ford's astounding yield of 1939 -- the year he also made Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln and began The Grapes of Wrath -- Drums Along the Mohawk is a fascinating, faultlessly executed delight, a lavish Technicolor reproduction of...

(Frank Perry, USA, 1971): Frank Perry's perspective-shifting take on the events leading up to the O.K. Corral gunfight is early-70s revisionism at its laziest, enervated and condescending. Focusing on the ruefully regretful Doc Holliday (Stacy Keach, reliably forceful as ever) and his utterly implausible relationship with...

(Demilfilo Fidani, Italy, 1971):  This majorly minor 1971 euro-western stars the always giving Klaus Kinski as a temper-prone gang leader who avenges his brother's death by wiping out every member of a family except the one (played by the singularly unmodulated Jeff Cameron) who calls himself...

(John Ford, USA, 1948): The movie's title has become a euphemism for any movie situation in which good folks are beseiged by marauding barbarians at the gates. You hear it invoked with Assault on Precinct 13, Night of the Living Dead, Aliens and, most baldly, Fort Apache,...

(John Ford, USA, 1948): One of the least-known and rarely discussed of Ford's westerns, this is a re-make of a silent version of the Magi story re-configured as the redemption saga of three bank robbers (John Wayne, Pedro Amendariz and, in his first movie, Harry...