Ride Lonesome (Boetticher, 1959)

Ride Lonesome (Budd Boetticher, 1959)

I’ve only seen one other Boetticher besides this one, but Ride Lonesome is already making me re-evaluate my stance on his films. I basically called Boetticher unoriginal. In the case of this film, while the story isn’t necessarily one that hasn’t been done before, the execution is marvelous. We are introduced to a seemingly unemotional bounty hunter as he captures a criminal to turn him in for a reward. Along the way, he picks up a few other folks and they travel together. Every one of these characters have interesting and consistent characteristics. At no point are these people any more or less than what Boetticher lays them out to be. There is occasional tension between them, but nothing over-the-top. They look out for each other, share laughs, and aren’t afraid to share their wants with one another. Outside of a force-fed scene where the bounty hunter shares his past/motivations with the others, everything felt genuine. Additionally, as with most quality westerns, the landscapes are beautiful, and the atmosphere is poetic. There is a lot to like here. Time to see that other Boetticher film again.  9.25/10


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