I’m a massive fan of Sam Peckinpah and Ride the High Country from 1962 is his second film. It was just a regular ish western at the time, with two fading stars playing old gun slingers taking a job to breathe some air.
However, the film is actually the start of Peckinpah’s obsession with a particular time in the west when things where changing and these old boys struggled to find footing, confused by cars on the roads and fences appearing of the trails. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is about this too, and so in particular is the Wild Bunch, which takes a very different view of a similar story.
The film is wonderfully shot by Lucien Ballard and has a lovely rousing ending. Joel McCrea and Randolf Scott are both great as the ageing leads. The film even has some gentle comedy which is unusual for a Peckinpah film.
Look out too for Warren Oates in a small role. Mariette Hartley is lovely and RG Armstrong is as crazy with religion as he always was.
The trailer is below. The film isn’t just of interest to western fans. I’d agree that this is now classic cinema.
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org