As a precursor to our film project, 12 Western Feature-Length Films in 12 Months, which Running Wild Films and 5J Media will start producing in 2016, director Travis Mills shares his thoughts on films from the genre as he studies Westerns in preparation for our own. Follow the project here on Facebook

This series of short blogs is titled “Western Impressions”.

Monte Walsh (1970)


A flawed but touching story of cowboys figuring out that the west they loved is dying. Marvin is great in the film, though I feel Palance is miscast. It would have been more interesting to see him in the role Mitch Ryan plays, though Ryan does a great job as the once friend turned “bad guy”. What struck me most is that some of the most effective scenes were the simplest: Marvin walking around town while the beautiful score plays. All the combined talents create a great sense of melancholy. The ending is staged in an odd location, perhaps to push the idea even further that the west is ending but it comes off as distracting just as the fight scenes in the Marvin crime thriller Prime Cut do as well.

Lasting impression: the scene where Marvin tries to tame the horse and as a result destroys most of the town is at once one of the most entertainment and awe-inspiring scenes in all of the western genre.