Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “offbeat”, surprisingly tongue-in-cheek western about a loner riding into a feuding town is reminiscent of both Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). For most of the film, Scott has a bemused look of detachment on his face — all he wants is to get home to West Texas. But when push comes to shove, he does what is needed to help protect those who are innocent, and to retrieve what is rightfully his. In his review of The Tall T (1958) — another of the seven westerns Boetticher ultimately made starring Randolph Scott — Peary notes Boetticher’s tendency to show men (in this case, Buchanan and the Mexicans) who choose to act with pride and honor in the face of an increasingly corrupt and violent “civilized” West. Indeed, women play only minor secondary roles in the film; this is very much a male western.
Note: As I wrote in my review of The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951), Boetticher was one of the rare filmmakers at the time to portray Mexicans in a dignified and respectful manner; this is clearly evident in Buchanan Rides Alone as well.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Buchanan calmly ordering and eating his steak in the midst of increasing barroom chaos
- Peter Whitney as Amos, the bumbling, half-wit Agry brother who’s always on-the-move and in-the-know
- An exciting final shoot-out
No, though any fan of Boetticher/Scott films will undoubtedly want to check it out.