(Richard C. Sarafian, USA, 1971): Properly planted and nurtured in the soil of the American frontier, a tale could grow as tall as a century was long, and the story of mountaineer Hugh Glass had roots 150 years deep by the time The Man in the Wilderness got...

(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...

(Sergio Corbucci, Italy, 1965): Essential only for spaghetti purists and completists (guilty, I guess), Sergio Corbucci's historically noteworthy early Euro-western is interesting mostly for its early launching of certain tropes -- the handicap-afflicted gunslinger, his ritualized torture, and dreamy-strange gunfights -- than anything else. In...

(Richard Fleischer, U.S.A., 1975): Still jaw-dropping after all these years, Richard Fleischer's much-maligned sex and slavery potboiler (literally, if you recall the pitchfork and cauldron ending) can at least now be appreciated for the work of stark and uncomfortable frankness that it is, and not...

(Anthony Mann, U.S.A, 1958): Civilisation crumbles and disappears before your eyes in Man of the West, Anthony Mann's penultimate western and an elemental boiling down of all that had preceded it into a hard, smouldering nugget of a parable. Gary Cooper, cast by Mann as...

(Anthony Mann, U.S.A., 1955): The triumphant Anthony Mann-James Stewart cycle closed with this brutal, savagely satisfying, Philip Yordan-scripted revenge drama, arguably the best of the collaboration and certainly the precursor to Mann's similarly savage but even more sparsely elemental Man of the West. Again, Stewart's a...

(Robert Altman, USA, 1971): The west ended almost as many times as the '60s did, but rarely with such sheer poetic eloquence as in Robert Altman's wintry elegy to the doomed individualist McCabe & Mrs. Miller. It begins with its gambler-entrepreneur-fool hero McCabe (a charismatically befuddled...

(John Schlesinger, USA, 1969): If there's any such thing as a timeless classic, this isn't it. Classic, yes, at least for the document it provides of a profoundly uneasy cultural moment, but for the same reason about as timeless as a lavender lava lamp. Still,...

(William Fraker, USA, 1970): Back in 1970, my father took me to see this because that's what he did whenever anything rode in on a horse. (If there's a single guy to be held accountable for my cowboy fixation, it's Glenn Pevere. God bless him.) But...

(Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2010): This is the west as open, empty metaphor: a space that invites meaning and interpretation as broad as the horizon itself. The setting is Oregon, 1845, and three families are crossing toward the Cascade Mountains (or so they hope) under the dubious...

(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...

(John Ford, USA, 1946):  According to John Ford, Wyatt Earp's mythic authority was as much a matter of style and attitude as it was gunslinging, and the fight at the OK Corral was a necessary and final clearing of the scrub in civilization's way. By...