Welcome to Hard Times (1967)

Welcome to Hard Times (1967)

“We’ve got a well and a cemetery; that’s a beginning.”

When a rogue gunman (Aldo Ray) terrorizes the settlement of Hard Times, a local Irish woman (Janice Rule) mocks Mayor Will Blue (Henry Fonda) for his cowardice. Meanwhile, a wagonful of prostitutes (led by Keenan Wynn) sets up a thriving business.


  • Aldo Ray Films
  • Cowardice
  • Elisha Cook Jr. Films
  • Henry Fonda Films
  • Janice Rule Films
  • Keenan Wynn Films
  • Lon Chaney, Jr. Films
  • Prostitutes
  • Warren Oates Films
  • Westerns

This disappointing western by director Burt Kennedy — perhaps best known for helming Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) — is a bust on every count. The dialogue is lame (“You’re a fool, Blue; you always were a fool”), the acting is almost uniformly poor (Rule’s accent is particularly awful), and the screenplay — based on a novel by E.L. Doctorow — is full of cliches, including a token Asian prostitute (Kalen Liu) who never speaks. It’s not clear to me why Peary lists this clunker in the back of his book.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Harry Stradling Jr.’s cinematography
  • Warren Oates’ as “Deputy Jenks”

Must See?


One thought on “Welcome to Hard Times (1967)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see, though I wouldn’t agree that it’s a “clunker”.

    Overall, it’s a compact tale of rejuvenation under the specters of consistent hardship and occasional bouts with evil. But it’s also a somewhat-flawed film, esp. in some of its development and logic (i.e., Rule’s character; it’s hard getting a handle on what her beef is exactly – and the dynamic between her and Fonda is somewhat muddy). Things seem a bit rushed as the film draws to a close.

    This is now something of a forgotten film so it’s not all that easy to find.

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