Conagher, starring Sam Elliott, based on a book by Louis L’Amour ★★★★★
Betsy and I have watched a number of westerns recently, including True Grit (3 stars), High Noon (4 stars), Once Upon a Time in the West (1 star), Magnificent Seven (2 stars), and the Wild Bunch (1 star).  These films will not be reviewed by me. Several (the 1 star films) were so bad we could barely endure the entire film. Even True Grit had terrible acting, and no real moral punch to it. Sorry, but John Wayne is not the best cowboy. Conagher was completely different. Sam Elliott was a soft-spoken, but very well-acted cowboy who minds his own business, and keeps his promises even at the risk of his life. This gets him in jeopardy with a band of cattle rustlers after the cattle Conagher is guarding. Meanwhile, a young family moves into a lone house not far removed from Conagher, but the husband perishes in an attempt to get cattle for starting a ranch. Eventually, Conagher endears himself to the husbandless/fatherless family, and …, well, watch the movie. This movie was likable because it did not create a fictional west. There were bad guys and good guys. The Indians were not painted as tree-hugging earth-loving pacifists, but for the feared savages that settlers in real life knew them to be. Conagher did not have the miraculous art of killing 12 people with 8 bullets while shooting from the hip. He mostly behaved like a normal person would and should behave. The filming was nice with superb scenes. No “in your face” shots, or prolonged emotional drama. The action was a bit slow, but that helped paint the realism of the film. Altogether, this made a true-to-life but suspenseful drama, well worth watching.