1968’s Hang ‘Em High is Clint Eastwood’s first American Western and the first film of his production company Malpaso, marking it as a significant entry in the canon of American westerns. Following the journey of a lawman who survives his illegal lynching, it explores the fine line between justice and revenge set against the backdrop of the hangman’s noose! This is a film that may in fact be the definitive film on the western trope of hanging, although it has more than a few ideas it doesn’t fully articulate. It ends up being a lot more fun as a studio style western, featuring a roster of great character actors, such as Ben Johnson, Pat Hingle, Bruce Dern, LQ Jones, Ed Begley and Dennis Hopper. It also offers a look at the coming style of 70s Westerns, in their dark, non-photogenic ugliness of both complexion and theme! The conversation spends much of its time exploring the meaning and significance of hanging in the westerns, but also manages to snake around to a lot of undeserved slandering of Pat Hingle, Eastwood’s West contrasted with John Wayne’s, references cited in Blazing Saddles, the weakness of Inger Stevens’ female lead, Eastwood’s handsome manliness and the villain’s surprising sense of poetic irony. In the end, I think Hang ‘Em High isn’t a particularly noteworthy film, but that said, it’s kind of just fun to see Clint Eastwood and a bunch of character actors doing western stuff at one another, with a lot of hangings. Great movie for hangings. And yeah, Dad’s sound is off a bit in this one. It’s my fault, but you can hear him fine.

We talk briefly of some other movies we’ve watched of late, such as Swiss Army Man and Hunt For the Wilderpeople, and Dad talks a bit about catching little bits of westerns on TV, and we ponder about how to cover some of those on the show. If you have any ideas about that, or requests for movies, or requests for TV, why not, email them to us at westernswithdad@gmail.com, and also please visit us on iTunes to rate and review the podcast. It’s in our best interest! Next time on Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about the newly Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water, something we’ve been building up to since it came out last August.

Hang ‘Em High was directed by Ted Post and stars Clint Eastwood, Pat Hingle, Inger Stevens, Bruce Dern, Ben Johnson and a bunch of others.


One of the few Westerns to see major release in the Aughts, Open Range is a great collaboration between Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner, proving correct the notion that all a movie needs is to be a good story, well told. One of Dad’s favorites, and in my opinion the best Costner Western, this is probably a bit underrated and deserves to be seen by anyone even reading an episode description of a podcast such as this. It’s got pretty much got everything you could want from the genre, evil ranchers and whatnot, and of course features Robert Duvall at the height of his Western game, which is pretty much a sight to behold. Topics of conversation include the Western as a labor of love for Creatives, the location of craws, the narrative difference between Justice and Revenge, Dad’s crush on Annette Bening, the effectiveness of casting Albus Dumbledore as a sneering villain, character actor Julian Richings, the trope of the gunfighter haunted by his past, the video game concept of ludonarrative dissonance, and a number of foul Irish accent attempts. Freegrazers!

Afterwards, we talk about of number of films, many of them starring Steven Seagal (Dad received a collection of his films for Christmas), and I dither a bit about La La Land, trying to explain why I liked it and other might not but also with no spoilers. Whatever, it’s a nice movie, check it out. There’s a bit of Game of Thrones talk in there as well, which despite what I say, results in no particular spoilers. Next episode, we’ll be taking on the early Clint Eastwood revenge picture Hang ‘Em High. In the meantime, why not leave a review and/or star rating for us on iTunes, as it will surely grant you luck and advantage in the coming year! You can also reach us at westernswithdad@gmail.com

Open Range was directed by Kevin Costner and stars Robert Duvall, Costner, Annette Bening, Michael Gambon, Michael Jeter, Diego Luna and Abraham Benrubi. And Julian Richings.