“She was tough in the old days — but the two of ya is just plum awful.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
… who is slow (very slow) to take to Caan; but they suit one another well enough that eventually they make a powerful team.
Richard Farnsworth earned an Academy Award nomination as a grizzled cowhand who has stayed by Fonda’s side for years, at risk of his own well-being:
… and Robards, Jr. is appropriately menacing as a man accustomed to getting what he wants, at any cost.
Other than showing the nitty-gritty toil of ranching, this neo-western is focused on the age-old western trope of competition for land use, with oil prospecting coming into play in the form of George Grizzard’s Neil Atkinson, whose family was a financial backer for the Ewings.
Corruption abounds — and things most certainly turn dark (then even darker). Apparently most critics weren’t too fond of this film when it was released, but I think it’s held up well for those who don’t mind the slightly slower pace (and the surprisingly dramatic ending).
Note: Watch for young Mark Harmon in a brief early role as Caan’s ill-fated partner.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: