Even in my younger days, as I remember them, my favorite Westerns were always the films that dealt with the passing of the West. I’ve always been drawn to stories of cowboys who struggle to come to terms with a time and place that no longer seem to have time or place for them or their values. John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and – more subtly – The Searchers are classic examples of this kind of tale.
The one that has really stuck with me, though, is a film that distills that theme to its essence. Its star still cites it as one of his favorite performances. It helped launch the career of one of film’s greatest composers. And it might just be my favorite Western. Continue reading