Seven Men from Now (1956)

Directed by Budd Boetticher - starring Randolph Scott, Gail Russell, Lee Marvin and Walter Reed

Randolph Scott plays 'Ben Stride', a sheriff whose wife was killed during a Wells Fargo robbery. He's in pursuit of the thieves and their loot when he happens across a troubled married couple (Gail Russell and Walter Reed). He helps them get their wagon unstuck from the mud and in the process begins to find himself drawn to the wife.

The three eventually meet up with Lee Marvin, who's in pursuit of the stolen loot. He knows Scott's history and who he really is, he also picks up the attraction Scott has for Russell and begins to make things unbelievably uncomfortable for the two of them, and her milquetoast husband.


This is the film that kickstarted the Ranown film cycle, the collaborations between Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott. And also Burt Kennedy, who is as equally an important part of the formula. This movie and the films that followed changed the landscape. They were westerns that weren't just about cowboys and Indians, but rather they were about characters and relationships. They were about our flaws and imperfections. The villains weren't always so bad and the heroes had issues. Budd had small budgets but the look of these films are all first class, shot on location in LONE PINE, the setting ties them together giving them a kind of visual continuity.


Randolph Scott is great, playing a less smiley character than usual and more of a tortured soul. Gail Russell is the perfect Budd/Scott love interest. Karen Steele may have more pin-up girl appeal, but Gail has a magnetic charged sexuality. Her sap of a husband is admirably played by Walter Reed. It's a thankless role but he really sells himself as a fish out of water in over his head in this new frontier full of men who know how to take charge and survive.

But it's Lee Marvin who steals the show as a sketchy foil for Scott who is after the stolen loot. The screen can barely contain him. From the moment he steps into frame he oozes charm. You'd wish he was friends with Scott instead off being at odds with him, a theme that runs through the best Boetticher /Scott collaborations (The Tall T, Ride Lonesome, Comanche Station).