Top Western Movies, Part 7

Blazing Saddles (1974) / Director: Mel Brooks / Stars: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman
In this zany Mel Brooks send-up of Westerns, a corrupt political boss appoints a black sheriff to a town in order to ruin it. The sheriff does not comply.


Lonesome Dove (1989) / Director: Simon Wincer / Stars: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Danny Glover, Robert Ulrich
Duvall and Jones star as cowboys who endure hard lives without complaint as they lead one last 2,500-mile cattle drive, which of course doesn’t go as planned. With Huston as the woman who never gets the ring. (That dove’s called “lonesome” for a reason…) A TV miniseries that won 7 Emmys.


The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) / Director: William A. Wellman / Stars: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn
Oscar-nominated but now largely forgotten (if still critically acclaimed) tale of a lynch mob, who become divided once they catch up to three men suspected of killing a local farmer.


The Big Country (1958) / Director: William Wyler / Stars: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston, Burl Ives, Chuck Connors
A New Englander arrives in the Old West only to become ensnared in a land feud between two families.


Fort Apache (1948) / Director: John Ford / Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendáriz

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) / Director: John Ford / Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson

Rio Grande (1950) / Director: John Ford / Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr.

John Ford’s “cavalry trilogy” includes Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and Rio Grande. In the first film, from 1948, John Wayne stars as an honorable, old-hand cavalry officer who has to adjust to a rigid, new commanding officer (Henry Fonda) who disdains the local Indians. In the second film, white folks are on edge after the Indians wipe out Custer and the 7th Cavalry. In steps Mr. Wayne, in one his more sensitive performances, as Capt. Nathan Brittles who is reluctantly preparing for his impending military retirement.

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