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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Ride the High Country (1962)



Reviews and Comments

By the early sixties, Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott wanted to retire from their acting careers, but they wanted to go out on a good one. When this fine Sam Peckinpah western came along, they knew this was it. Although McCrea did eventually return to the profession years later to do some minor work, they were both happy to call this the final episode in their careers, and Scott never did act in films again.

Curiously the dusk of these two legendary careers coincides with the dawn of another -- this was only Sam Peckinpah's second film, and while he hadn't yet developed his now famous high-powered gunfight style (which would debut later in The Wild Bunch), this is the film that made him famous; it remains one of his best.

The story is an old one, as far as westerns go. McCrea is hired to transport a large sum of money, and Scott, an old friend, has his eyees set on taking it. Then there's a third character, a brash young protege of Randolph Scott, who has a knack for getting himself and everyone else into trouble. The plot's just an excuse for the movie, however; the real heart of this tale is its characters, who are finely drawn and engaging.

See it in the widescreen format if at all possible.