I continue to study the Western genre. I have now launched a podcast about the making of Western films. Listen here


This offbeat Canadian-made Western is definitely worth a look. It first caught my attention because of the casting of folk singer Gordon Lightfoot. The prospect of seeing him as a lawman was too tempting to resist.

However, he’s not the center of attention here. Bruce Dern, one of America’s finest character actors, plays the titular outlaw. It’s hard to say this is one of his best performances since his decades-long career is full of them but I will say he carries the movie from beginning to end with his wit, energy, and his usual eccentric flair. Lightfoot is good but under-used. It’s a shame the script didn’t balance the portrayal of Dern’s outlaw and Lightfoot’s lawman a little more. We never get a good sense of who he is and that would have made their odd relationship more effective.

The episodic narrative doesn’t always work but there are some terrific scenes: the chase through the city streets, the train robbery, and the finale. It’s not The Grey Fox (if you haven’t seen that, drop everything and make it happen), but it’s certainly a worthy entry in the genre that deserves more attention than it gets.

Watched on rarefilmm.com