Ride the High Country

Director:   Sam Peckinpah
Year:   1962
Language:   English
Time:   93 minutes

At the turn of the last century, in the autumn of the year, an aging ex-marshal (Joel McCrea) hopes to make enough money to retire on by taking a job transporting a gold shipment down from the high Sierras. But everything goes awry after he hires a less principled former sidekick (Randolph Scott) to help him.

This was Peckinpah's first major film after nearly a decade doing television dramas (most notably Gunsmoke), and it is a transitional work in many respects. Some of the dialogue and scene-blocking is in the style of an earlier era, and seems badly dated now. But much else about the film was forward-looking and remains fresh today. And Peckinpah's decision to give the leading roles to two old cowboy-movie stars who were themselves in fact over the hill gives the film an ironic richness.

Not rated.  Some scenes of violence, relatively tame by today's standards.


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