Ride Lonesome (1959)

Directed by Budd Boetticher, starring Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, and introducing James Coburn as Whit!

"A man could do that."

The apex of Budd Boetticher / Randolph Scott Ranown pictures. COMANCHE STATION (1960) may have come after and even though it's very good it just isn't as perfect as RIDE LONESOME. 

*SPOILERS* In RIDE LONESOME Randolph Scott plays "Ben Brigade", a man who captures Billy John (James Best), to use him to exact revenge on his brother Frank (Lee Van Cleef) for killing his wife. Along the way he saves a woman, played by Karen Steele, from an Indian attack at the station she was working. Two outlaws tag along played wonderfully by Pernell Roberts and James Coburn in his big screen debut. They quickly discover Karen Steele's husband to be dead so all three join together to evade the Indians. Roberts and Coburn ride along in with the hopes of turning on Scott to use Billy John as their way of gaining amnesty.


The film opens on location amid the beautiful rocky hills of Lone Pine! Randolph is colder and more rugged than ever before. The loss of his wife has eaten away at him, he is a shell of a man hell bent on revenge. It's great! Karen Steele lights up the screen, the affection of every Indian Chief and outlaw around. She falls for Randolph but he is still grieving for his long lost wife. 

Once again the outlaws steal the show. Pernell Roberts and James Coburn are a riot. They are the heart and soul of this film. In the previous films 7 MEN FROM NOW and THE TALL T the outlaws are friendly with Scott but in the end he is forced to take them out. RIDE LONESOME switches that convention, this time allowing them to actually become friends and earn their happy ending. Their plan of double crossing Scott never has a chance to come to fruition. In the end Scott accepts his sadness and allows the two outlaws a chance of a better life, one that he can never have. The villains Billy John and his brother Frank played by Lee Van Cleef are easily dispatched by Scott. James Best is great as the weasely "Billy John", but if the movie has one fault it's the amount of screen time for Lee. It is much too short, his character could have used a touch more fleshing out. But that's a minor nitpick in an otherwise perfect film.

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