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With: Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, James Best, Lee Van Cleef, James Coburn
Written by: Burt Kennedy
Directed by: Budd Boetticher
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 73
Date: 15/02/1959

Ride Lonesome (1959)

4 Stars (out of 4)

At Hang Tree

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Ride Lonesome on DVD

Perhaps the best in the "Ranown" series, alongside Seven Men from Now, Ride Lonesome one never once strikes a wrong note. Randolph Scott plays bounty hunter Ben Brigade, who captures outlaw Billy John (James Best) and proceeds to transport him to Santa Cruz. On the way, Brigade rescues the wife (sexy Karen Steele) of a way station manager, and two outlaws (Pernell Roberts and James Coburn) help him defend against an Indian attack. This mismatched crew continues to travel, with all kinds of psychological and sexual one-upmanship brewing just under the surface. And yes, Brigade is actually out to avenge his dead wife. Lee Van Cleef appears as Brigade's real target, and though he's only onscreen for a few minutes, he haunts the entire film. This was director Budd Boetticher's first use of 'Scope, and it's a masterpiece of economic action and performance, as if he had no problem making the adjustment. The climactic sequence, at the twisted, black "hang tree," is perhaps the most powerful in all of Boetticher's canon.

See also The Films of Budd Boetticher.

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