“A man put me in jail, I’d get even with him if I could.”
While hunting down the seven robbers who killed his wife, a former sheriff (Randolph Scott) assists a naive homesteading couple (Walter Reed and Gail Russell) heading west. Meanwhile, Scott discovers that two ex-cons (Lee Marvin and Don Barry) are equally anxious to track down the criminals — and their loot.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Seven Men From Now was the first of seven westerns director Budd Boetticher made with leading-man Randolph Scott, and one of five scripted by Burt Kennedy. While it’s not quite as compelling as some of their later outings (Decision at Sundown and Buchanan Rides Alone are my personal favorites, while Ride Lonesome is universally lauded as the best of the bunch), it’s a solid, enjoyable flick in its own right, with — as Peary notes — “interesting character conflicts, good action sequences, and a shootout worth waiting for.” Critics (see links below) are nearly universal in their description of the film — and Boetticher’s style in general — as “lean and spare”, “economical”, “modest in tone and intimate in scope”, leaving “no trace of fat”; indeed, Boetticher makes effective use of every moment, many of which (such as the infamous “wagon scene”) are highly memorable. The performances all-around are solid, but Lee Marvin is especially good — this was the perfect follow-up to his role as “Slob” in Shack Out On 101. Also of note is Gail Russell, looking (appropriately enough for a settler) weary beyond her years; knowing that she would die a premature death from alcoholism just five years later makes her performance here even more poignant.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Randolph Scott as Ben Stride
- Lee Marvin as Bill Masters
- Gail Russell as Annie Greer
- Walter Reed as John Greer
- The incredibly tense “wagon scene”
- Gorgeous natural settings
- The well-choreographed final shoot-out
Yes. As the first collaboration between Boetticher and Scott, this fine western — in addition to being an all around good show — holds a special place in cinematic history.