Hands down, (as opposed to hands up?), a favorite Western must have either Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. For me it is Clint Eastwood in "Unforgiven." It just does not get much better than that.
...Believing that he is the next target, Beauchamp heads for the front door. The Sheriff picks up his pistol and loudly cocks it. Will steps on his gun arm, causing the gun to discharge. Entirely at Will's mercy, Little Bill pleads and laments that he won't live long enough to enjoy his dream house in old age:
Little Bill: I don't deserve this. To die like this. I was building a house.
Will: Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.
Little Bill: I'll see you in hell, William Munny.
After an extended pause with the gun barrel floating above Little Bill's head, Munny blasts him - unforgiven. Striding out of the saloon, he shoots a moaning and wounded Clyde, and then crouches down and yells a further warning to anyone on the street who dares to shoot at him as he leaves town: "Any son-of-a-bitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, I'm gonna kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down. Nobody better shoot." As he rides from town, he commands further frontier justice for the prostitutes:
You better bury Ned right. You better not cut up nor otherwise harm no whores, or I'll come back and kill every one of you sons of bitches."
Make your choice or get out of Dodge.
In the Ol’ West, a Very Tough Commute
By A. O. SCOTT NY Times
Published: September 7, 2007
Russell Crowe, who wears the black hat in “3:10 to Yuma,” is a native of New Zealand. Christian Bale, the good guy, was born in Wales. Lou Dobbs and other commentators who have lately been sounding the alarm about outsourcing, immigration and the globalization of the labor market may want to take note. The hero and the villain in a cowboy movie: are we going to stand by and let foreigners steal these jobs? Are no Americans willing to do them?
Of course the western is a universal genre — one of the best recent examples, “The Proposition,” comes from Australia — and it must be said that Mr. Crowe and Mr. Bale both do excellent work. They and a fine, all-American supporting cast, including Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster, Dallas Roberts and a surpassingly grizzled Peter Fonda, are the main reasons to see “3:10 to Yuma,” a serviceable addition to the current western revival.
Directed by James Mangold from a script by Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, “3:10 to Yuma” remakes a 1957 film of the same title (based on the same Elmore Leonard story), which starred Glenn Ford as the charming baddie and Van Heflin as the rancher who risks everything to escort him to a rendezvous with justice.
The original, directed by Delmer Daves, is a lean and satisfying specimen, a western more concerned with the psychology of its characters than with the mythology of the frontier. Mr. Mangold’s new version, though it expands the story and cranks up the brutality, does its best to honor the unpretentious spirit of the original.
If it is a lesser movie — more likely to be recalled as a moderately satisfying entertainment than remembered as a classic — that may be a sign of the times. The best of the old westerns were dense with psychosexual implication and political subtext. Often dismissed, then and now, as naïve celebrations of dubious ideals, they were in many ways more sophisticated than their self-consciously critical (or “revisionist”) heirs. And the new “3:10 to Yuma,” even in its efforts to stick to the old ways (apart from some obligatory post-“Deadwood” cussing), is neither spare nor suggestive enough. It lacks the confidence to distinguish between touchstones and clichés...
3:10 TO YUMA