I'll admit up front that this review might be just a wee bit colored by the frustrations I've had trying to watch this film. For some reason my computer has fits with Netflix instant viewing now, and glitches every few seconds. I tried to watch this movie a month or so ago, gave up, and finally just bit the bullet and watched it, constant glitching and all.
Despite the fact that this is a Western, and stars William Holden, I did not particularly enjoy it. There was too little plot for its length, and consequently I found it tedious (not a normal complaint of mine -- I generally like long movies). But I need strong plots, and this one just didn't have one. Has an okay main concept, but doesn't do much with it, relies on coincidence and fate rather than character action. There's also a subplot about sheep farmers that really has nothing to do with anything, it just gets in the way of the rest of the story. Yawn.
The good things that almost outweigh the rest:
William Holden. I thought he was fabulous, particularly towards the end of the film. Watching him react to things, watching the emotions on his face nearly made me like this movie despite the lack of plot. He carries this film, and his character is the only one who changes a tiny bit.
Jerry Goldsmith's score. I've always liked this score, so it was great to hear it in context, and more than that, hear the music that's not on the album.
Moses Gunn as an old soldier friend of Holden's was great. And the scenery was pretty nice, but that's about all the positive.
And you know, I'm really really glad the first thing I saw Tom Skerritt in was Alien. He was a good guy there, nice, brave, and a bit naive. Mostly, he was just a nice guy, and I really liked him. I swear I have not seen him play a good guy since then. He shows up a lot in older films (and TV shows), usually as a young, whining, uncouth lout who I usually cannot wait to see get what's coming to him. This movie was no exception.