(John Sturges, USA, 1959): Perhaps because it was released in the shadow of such tall trees -- the same year as Rio Bravo,  a couple of years following 3:10 to Yuma and John Sturges' previous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and just before The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -- this deft...

(Jack Arnold, USA, 1959): A stranger named John Gant (Audie Murphy) rides into town from the surrounding hills, and the citizens get jumpy: Gant is a professional killer with a legendary m.o. He always goads his prey into drawing first, always staying inside the law. And...

(Carlo Lizzani, Italy/West Germany, 1967): Years after his entire Mexican village and family have been Gatling-gunned down by the imperiously racist (and tacitly homosexual) ex-Confederate aristocrat George Bello Ferguson (Mark Damon), the mild-mannered, god-fearing only survivor of the massacre grows up to be called Requiescant (Lou...

(Rafael Romero Marchent, Italy/Spain, 1968): Riding into the town of Blackstone to collect one bright day, the 'bounty killers' Fred (Anthony Steffen) and Johnny (Mark Damon), spot a fat reward for a wanted desperado and attempt to scam the local sheriff -- named, inevitably, 'Bob' --...

(Tommy Lee Jones, USA, 2014): While it's true that landscape is character in most westerns, it's also true that the character played by director-co-writer-star Tommy Lee Jones in The Homesman is landscape itself. When he first appears on the flat, hard prairie landscape of 1850s...

(Raoul Walsh, USA, 1947): The long urban shadows of film noir stretched all the way to the frontier in Raoul Walsh's remarkable and strikingly gorgeous 1947 id-western Pursued, in which a tragically haunted Robert Mitchum actually gives James Wong Howe's ravishing black-and-white rendering of the infinite desert...

(Richard Wilson, USA, 1955): Arriving to tend to some unfinished personal business in a town where Leo Gordon has just shot a kid's dog on Main Street, Clint Tollinger (Robert Mitchum) soon finds himself the object of keen civic interest. Equipped with a frontier-wide rep as...

(Henry Hathaway, USA, 1968): It says something both about the western and its social impact that a kid and his dad could go and see two Dean Martin westerns in the course of a year, but my dad and I did. Indeed, this one came...

(Arnold Laven, USA, 1967): A good man (George Peppard) hitches a ride to a bad town (Jericho) in a wagon driven by an ex-lawman (good, played by John McIntire). The ex-lawman has been summoned there by the widow (good but feisty, played by Jean Simmons)...

(Dennis Hopper, USA, 1971): I've been tracking this since I was fourteen, when even I was aware that the tripped-out director of Easy Rider had followed up his shockingly successful hippie biker movie -- Restricted where I lived, so I couldn't see it -- with...

(USA, 2004-6): While it's true that Deadwood, David Milch's extraordinary experiment in western TV, was unfairly yanked just as it was emerging from the mud, it's also true that nothing is fair -- ask Al Swearengen -- and the Deadwood we've got is still pretty drop-dead...

(Delmer Daves, U.S.A, 1957): By the time Delmer Daves' near-perfect chamber western 3:10 to Yuma settles into a long, two-handed passage in a Contention, Arizona, hotel room, it has prepared us so efficiently for a drama of words fired across an eight-foot space you barely...