Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of making my own 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.


Week Seventy Two: Silver Lode


Actor John Payne and director Allan Dwan, how could I resist? Two of my favorites of the old era team up once again in Silver Lode which sat in my Amazon queue far too long. And no surprise, it’s another solid Western, worth more discussion that it will probably ever get.

This is the kind of one location potboiler I should have written for my 12 Westerns and I may still take a stab at this style. I was excited to see the action never leave the town as tensions grow, alliances change, and violence erupts. Duryea was born to play a villain. Payne was meant to be a conflicted hero.

Dwan explores our society just enough to give audiences something to chew on after they’re done while not spoiling the fun. He was good at that, decades into his career at this point. I love the way he handles the finale. Yes, it has that Hollywood slant but with a crooked eye.

The only thing I would do differently, and may play with in my variation, is to have the prostitute character really become the hero’s love interest.

Seen on Amazon Prime.