Westerns are one of Hollywood's oldest and most beloved genres. While the genre might have fallen out of favor in the past couple of decades, it still has a special place in the hearts of countless cinephiles.
Westerns have been around since the dawn of the motion picture industry itself. There was a time when people couldn’t get enough of rugged cowboys on horses with revolvers, fighting evil forces amidst beautiful landscapes. During the Golden Age of the western, we were introduced to screen legends like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood who owned the genre. Movies like Once Upon a Time in the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Unforgiven, and Seven Samurai have been firmly established as some of the greatest Westerns ever made. However, there are many tales of the Wild West that, for some reason, were overlooked by wider audiences.
Today, we will take a look at some underappreciated Westerns that would please the fans of the genre.
1. Dodge City (1939)
Dodge City is an early Western which has it all – grand locations, runaway trains on fire, saloon fights, cattle stampedes, and all kinds of mayhem. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, this is the story of a Texas cattle agent who takes it upon himself to clean up the lawless cattle town of Dodge City.
Ride The High Country (1962)
This memorable Western stars Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott, as a pair of veteran lawmen who are past their prime. When one of them is hired to transport gold from a mining community through dangerous territory, he asks his partner and his young protégé to assist him. What he doesn’t know, however, is that the two plan to steal the gold for themselves.
The Gunfighter (1950)
This 1950 Henry King film is about a reformed gunfighter Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) who’s trying to put his bloody past behind him and start a new life. He heads to a sleepy town in the hope of a reunion with his long-lost sweetheart (Helen Westcott), but his murky past stands between the settled life he wants to live.
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
Set in 1881, New Mexico, this Western follows the story of Pat Garrett, an aging eponymous sheriff, as he hunts down his old friend and now an outlaw, Billy the Kid. It features the famous song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by none other than Bob Dylan, who also impresses in an acting role in the flick.
The Big Gundown (1966)
Gunman Jonathan Corbett has become famous for having eliminated all the bandits of Texas. He is then persuaded by a wealthy tycoon to run as a senator. However, Corbett soon learns about the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl by a fugitive Mexican and makes it his mission to bring the man to justice.
One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
One-Eyed Jacks is the first film directed by and starring the great Marlon Brando. He plays the outlaw Rio who pulls a bank heist with his partner, Dad Longworth (Karl Malden). But Longworth takes the loot and leaves his partner to be captured. Rio escapes and begins the hunt for Longworth in California.
Silverado is a fun old-school Western adventure written and directed by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and starring Kevin Costner, Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, and Danny Glover. Set in the year 1880, the film follows a misfit bunch of friends who travel to the city of Silverado and fight the injustices existing in the small town.
The Great Silence (1968)
"That western in the snow" would be an apt way to describe this underrated gem. Directed by Sergio Corbucci, this magnificently shot film revolves around Silence (Jean Louis Trintignant), a mute gunslinger who's hired by a young widow to take revenge against a gang of bounty killers and also to save a group of outlaws.
Man of the West (1958)
This brilliant Anthony Mann Western is rarely discussed. The story is about Link Jones (Gary Cooper), a reformed outlaw who’s forced to rejoin his old outlaw band to save his new friends he meets on a train journey.
Pale Rider (1985)
Pale Rider is another largely forgotten Western starring Clint Eastwood that deserves to be rated high in his glittering filmography. Eastwood plays a mysterious gunslinger known as the Preacher who protects a prospector village from a greedy mining company trying to encroach on their land.
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