Friday, September 08, 2006


Top 10 westerns

Okay, let's take a break from the trench wars. What are the top 10 westerns of all time? Here they are (westerns I haven't seen don't get to be on the list, and I've never seen for instance The Searchers, and I've only seen the last 20 minutes of High Noon).

1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - The music, the expressions, the cinematography, stories without words, etc. The final scene with the forces of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory out in a graveyard in the middle of nowhere with the dead as witnesses. I could watch it over and over again.

2. McCabe and Mrs. Miller - Robert Altman's liberal take on High Noon (haven't seen it but I do know the basic plot). Altman's patented "overlapping dialogue," characters alive with texture - especially the villains who give me nightmares.

3. The Oxbow Incident - Already discussed. A great liberal parable about the consequences of the rush to judgment, executed with some great writing and acting.

4. Pat Garret and Billy the Kid - Peckinpaw's telling of the story making land baron Chisolm the villain and exploring the themes of the closing of the west. Great cast and an nice Dylan soundtrack.

5. Deadman - Jim Jarmusch's B&W story about an easterner transformed by an injury taking him close to death. The whole movie has a dreamlike quality that almost takes you across the veil.

6. Fistful of Dollars - the first of the Leone/Eastwood trilogy, based on a Kurosawa semarai movie. The speech about the mule with hurt feelings is one of the best moments in western cinema.

7. Hombre - Paul Newman wasn't very convincing as a half-breed, but overall the film made a great anti-hero flick with some interesting social content thrown in.

8. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Great cast, great story. Lee Marvin's bad guy made the movie.

9. Stagecoach - the one that set the genre.

10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - The best of the "outlaw" sub-genre.

Update: I don't know where my brain's at. Obviously Magnificent 7 belongs on the list. I even made mention of Fistful of Dollars' Kurosawa origins (Yojimbo) and it didn't occur to me.

Eric, "the man who shot liberty valance" should be much higher on the list !

What about TOM HORN, w/ Steve McQueen?
How about "the professionals", Sam Peckinpaw ?
you're just trying to change the subject because you can't handle honest debate.

Lonesome Dove was pretty cool. can little house on the praire be counted as a western?
how about " Judge Roy Bean", the Ballad of Cable Houge ?

Butch Cassidy was entertaining but NOT a great western.

How about the "Gallegos Kid"
You got alot to learn about westerns Pilgrim!

You have got give Destry Rides Again a viewing. James Stewart as the new Sheriff without a gun is right up your alley, and Marlena Dietrich (?) is awesome. Her chick fight alone is worth the price admission.
MarlenE Dietrich can only get half the credit for the greatest cat fight in the history of respectable cinema. The other half goes to the memorable Una Merkel who gave La Dietrich all she could handle in the brawl for it all.

Eric, do yourself a favor and rent this movie for sheer enjoyment. If you want to be moved, rent Shane.
Eric, "the man who shot liberty valance" should be much higher on the list !

You're probably right. It's a masterpiece, with appeal well beyond the western genre fans.

Haven't seen Tom Horn.

Haven't seen The Professionals.

you're just trying to change the subject because you can't handle honest debate.


Lonesome Dove is cool. It's a mini-series though. Not sure it qualifies as a movie.

But if we're counting series, sure, why not Little House on the Prairie?

Also Little Big Man, and the Ballad of Gregorio Cortez would definitely be in my top 20 though for some reason I don't really think of either as "westerns."

Haven't seen any of the rest listed in these comments.
Nice spin away from the local news Eric. Very creative and very transparent.
"When the fact becomes legend, print the legend!"

"You taught her how to read and write. NOw give her something to read and write about!"

Long live The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and it's director John Ford for so many sweet memories.
I can't belive I'm defending Eric, but it's his blog and he's had a pretty rough couple of days. If he wants to indulge in a little light hearted stroll down the dusty trial, he's allowed. The rest of varmints and scoundrels can go suck eggs.

McQueen, Brynner, Bronson, Wallach, Vaughn & Coburn and a cast of nasty hombres.
Give The Searchers a shot. John Wayne playing an angry, racist and isloated man fueled by rage and forever dismissing his detractors who said he couldn't act. John Ford at his directorial best. You will be awed by this film. Some of the cinematography is beyond beautiful.
Damn!!! How could I have forgotten the Magnificent 7???

Okay, sorry Butch and Sundance, but make room.
I saw Tom Horn once over 20 years ago and all I remember is a whole lot of minimalist acting, little dialogue and panoramic vistas. It wasn't even a good movie much less worthy of this dialogue. Did Linda Evans get naked in that?
These are your Top Ten Westerns?

Where's Shane? It is the best Western ever made. Shane presents an archetypal portrayal of the Code of the West. High Noon comes in second and it too carries the Code of the West message.

Everyone longs to see such a code of honor among men because everyone has learned to fear its absence, a lesson learned on the playgrounds at school or for some, in the neighborhood turf wars where poor people are given easy access to the weapons to blow each other's brains out and not just with guns.

In fact, at every level of society, from head of the family to head of the nation, the presence or absence of a code of honor among men determines the level of social violence and preditator behavior in general.

At some deep down level I think all of us know that without men playing "fair and square" treating others by the Golden Rule, all Hell breaks loose. So we turn to the Western genre to find role models. That's where I found mine practicing my quick-draw and shooting my off in the process.

The Searchers is the only John Wayne movie I liked. He played the bad guy and was good at it.

Outlaw Josey Wales was good too. So was Big Country with Peck and Heston going at it. Then there's Duel in the Sun too with luscious Jennifer Jones. But it was impossibly pretty Gretchen Mol in the last Lonesome Dove series that sparked our Heartlands Indian Island movie attempt.

Movies, I love 'em. Did one myself, a 3 minute experimental animation film in 1966 that got shown in the Cinema Theatre in Hollywood twice as part of an experimental film series.

Btw, the conversion of Palco's Mill A buildings into movie sound stages is well received by everyone I've talked to interested in starting a film industry in Humboldt County. It's one of the ways our Heartlands Plan envisions the diversification of an employee-owned and operated Palco community corporation.
1:39 pm

I'd postpone calling you a total *&^ moron if you'll consider watching Tom Horn again.
And even though I know Eric is trying to dodge todays headlines I will have to say, SHANE was a great western, a great movie.
Jack Palance was absolutely brilliant as the heavy. I learned to like his acting even more after seeing "Attack" I think the movie was, where Jack the army captain gets run over by a German tank.

You never know when one might run over you around here..
Lost my post..try again here..

Another good bad guy was Lee Marvin in The Killers. Ronald Reagan's last movie I think and he too played the bad guy, a double-crossing gangster perhaps in preparation for his role as President of the United States..
Shane can't be on the list. I haven't seen it.
Well, there you are! No wonder you've been suckered by Paul and the Progressives! You never learned how to tell the bad guys from the good guys that watching Shane would have taught you.
Now that we've discussed the top 10 westerns lets get back to basics.

Eric you're the first one to be Paul Gallegos' champion at the hint of anyone being critical. You stuck up for Gallegos yesterday at the first plagiarizm scandal story. Today the second story breaks and you want to talk about the best westerns (hell you haven't even seen Shane or High Noon so how can your opinion on the 10 best westerns mean shit, sorry Eric but)

This is all part of the spin, the deflection Eric. I see through it, other people see though it. It makes me wonder if you're taking direction from Ken Miller and or Richard Salzman ?

Your credibility is at stake ? You say or act like you don't care but you do. This is serious, it has and will continue to affect the county. Why not address it, deal with it. You comment on all other kinds of stuff but when your good friend Paul is caught in deception, a fraud, dishonesty you want to talk about movies ? No you just want to deflect anything negative to Paul. Not going to happen ! I'm not going to let it drop, either on your blog, someone else's blog, letters to the editor, or word of mouth I'm not going to let this die down after a week. This is serious. What else will Gallegos stup to ? How low can he go ? I'm sure it's pretty low. I want Gallegos to be exposed for what he is ! I want his controllers to be exposed.

This fraud, this deceit makes one think about everything else the man has said or done ? It's apparent that the truth means nothing to him, I knew that before but now everyone knows it.

let's talk about it. he's the one that caused it to happen with his My Word article, his out of control ego.

This guy, the supposed top law enforcment offical in Humboldt County is a disgrace!

Show some balls Eric, ask for him to step down, demand that he step down ! This DA that talks about Jusitce and blah blah blah.
Actually, I was going to post my recipe for seven spiced oatmeal cookies.
Okay, in all honesty, I am providing a bit of a diversion, but the Gallegos thing is the last issue on my mind. Also, I'm thinking of making lighter subject posts a regular Friday feature just as a matter of practice. To quote some old guy whose name I don't remember:

all work and no play doesn't just make jack a dull boy. It makes him grim. And I do not want to be grim.
Eric - you have checked out ---- so its the last thing on your mind huh?
In case you hadn't noticed, this blog was overrun by crazies last night. I'm dealing with the fallout. The Gallegos thing isn't going anywhere between now and monday. Keep your pants on.
Actually, it's my fault for being bored with the whole Gallegos thing. The guy's history. Dead man walking with continuing flubs and bad decision-making and now this exposure of his seamy side. Paul and Progressives may well go down together since Humboldt citizens when informed of the truth are not all that fond of liars in office.
The Communitarians will be replacing the Progressives in Humboldt County as the real progressive movement towards community sustainability on all levels. Communitarians care for the community as a whole while Progressives strive to keep the community divided politically into Left and Right camps with no attempt to create unification. Communitarians can come in all political stripes--the common bond is care and concern for all members of the community with no one left out.
How do you leave Blazing Saddles off of that list?


2. McCabe and Mrs. Miller - Robert Altman's liberal take on High Noon (haven't seen it but I do know the basic plot).
If you haven't seen the movie, it can't be on your Top 10 list.

You forgot "The Wild Bunch", "El Dorado", "Unforgiven" and "Dances With Wolves".

Now go put your kneepads back on and worship before your Gags.
No, I meant High Noon, of which I've only seen the final few scenes. I've seen McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Unforgiven probably belongs on the list. El Dorado is up there, but not in the topp 10. Dances with Wolves was a nice movie, but not particularly great in my view.

How could "High Noon" not make the list?

"High Noon" should be ranked No. 1.

That story has everything.

– Jack
I have to see it first.
Too many good westerns to list. Anything with either John Wayne, James Stewart or Tom Selleck. All his movies were great, too, along with his oft co- star, Sam Elliot.

Not quite a western, but one of my favorite older historical movies was Gettysburg.

The single western that comes to my mind right now is Tombstone, the one starring Kurt Russell. I loved that one if only because I like fairly historically accurate movies.

Oh, for any other old west buffs out there, one of my favorite old west magazines, True West, is online at

Fun site to stop by every now and then. Right now the cover picture shows Kurt Russell from Tombstone. At least I think that's him
Make sure you watch the original "High Noon." Don't watch the 2000 TV movie remake of "High Noon" with Tom Skerritt. It's wretched!

Then, after you watch "High Noon," you'll want to watch "Outland" with Sean Connery. "Outland" is "High Noon" in space, more or less.

High Noon with Gary Cooper
Fred said "Not quite a western, but one of my favorite older historical movies was Gettysburg."

I loved it too, especially after I found out the pivotal character of Gen. John Buford, was a cousin of mine.

This is the Turner network production, right? It would be about 12 years old.
Cat Ballew, funny with the best bucking horse scene of all times.Stuntman is a cousin. Don't forget "Shane" or "Will Penny"
maybe it's balue
maybe it's balue
I can't believe there has been no mention of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven:
Will Munny: It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have.
The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess he had it coming.
Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid.
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