Having seen Hathaway's True Grit and work in How The West Was Won, my expectations weren't too high for what I expected to be a simple revenge Western. I'm not sure why this is so under-seen/celebrated (in relation to True Grit). A touching family drama at times, a sprinkle of Hawksian companionship, a sprinkle of Ford's look at democracy and the law, and some of the best widescreen cinematography that I've seen.
This film is one of the most underrated and atypical westerns out there! For a long period of time it is a simple family drama, it isn't until the explosive final that the familiar western tropes make an appearance. Hathaway focuses most of the film on simply fleshing out the characters. This is a western more concerned with characters and relationships instead of gunplay and it is all the better for it.