[Fox Movies HD: cTV] His misguided revenge was as novel+ twisted thematically as was Hitch's lying in 'Stage Fright' flashback: both to throw off viewers & make'em choose sides early on and (wrongly) assume the moral righteousness of a character against the guilt of presumed wrong-doers. Never seen rape treated this way on a western. Butler (rapist) + Jim (a serial killer Dexter-style) are the dirty and rotten ones.
It says quite a bit that any depth and profundity makes it through direction so terribly uninspired. The script is, actually, incredibly good --- nay, brilliant: the moral bait and switch threatens to undermine the very ideal of the western, and the seemingly Hollywood cookie-cutter ending (Peck gets a family, a girl, a hero label) twists the knife after a rather righteous shanking.
A harsh, morally conscientious western about the dangers of uniting prosecutor, judge, and executioner in one single entity. Obligatory dull romantic subplot aside, a more to-the-point indictment of McCarthyism than 'High Noon'.