The Far Country (1954)
Pssst, want to check out The Far Country in our new look?
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Anthony Mann's 5th western with James Stewart, The Far Country, continues his exploration of the lone wolf gunslinger archetype as a selfish bastard - a repudiation of more simple western heroes like the Lone Ranger - this time taking Stewart and his sidekick to Alaska and then the Yukon. What's interesting about Mann's westerns is that while embracing the basic tropes of the Old West (the Old North?), he also gives them a gritty realism. The hero is only out for himself, the lawlessness is in the service of economic pursuits, the wrong people die bloody deaths, and the landscape is by turns muddy and majestic (here, we have Jasper Alberta subbing for the Yukon and it's terrific). Mann's westerns are messy and dirty and prefigure the revisionist westerns of the modern era. In The Far Country, Jimmy Stewart (who, face it, I would probably watch in virtually anything anyway) is particularly good at avoiding heroics, even though the plot keeps trying to drag him into that position again and again. In the end, I'm not sure he's anything better than an anti-hero, as revenge isn't particularly altruistic, though you can see the moment his self-serving nature is momentarily shaken. And he's only one of several interesting, even memorable, characters.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!