GODLESS!

On this episode, we’ll be discussing the new limited series on Netflix, Scott Frank’s Godless! The small mining town of LaBelle becomes the battleground for a conflict between two outlaws, one good, one very bad, and the population, mostly widows, find themselves in a war for their way of life. Real western stuff! Despite appearances to the contrary, this is much more of a straight-up western in the old tradition than you might expect, and on those terms, it succeeds quite well. Topics of conversation include the confused doctrine of madman villain Frank Griffin, the winning performances and puzzling script decisions throughout, Sheriff Bill McNue’s essential Bill Paxton-ness, the unfortunately scripted fate of the Buffalo Soldiers, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, friendly ghost Indians, pointless sexual violence, and the panoply of various characters coming in and out of LaBelle and its surroundings over the course of the show. In truth, this is such an epic show that we probably could have filled four hours, so this isn’t nearly as detailed as our usual episode, but the long and the short is that if you’re listening to this podcast, Godless is probably worth your time. It’s all just so handsomely appointed!

Other topics of conversation include the upcoming Super Bowl and the surprisingly similar female Goodfellas riffs Molly’s Game and I, Tonya. You can find us online at westernswithdad.com, or on iTunes of course, where you could even leave ratings and reviews to increase the profile of the show, thus helping us! And please feel free to email us any questions or film recommendations at westernswithdad@gmail.com!

On the next episode, we’ll be talking about The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, completing our coverage of the Man With No Name trilogy! Godless was directed by Scott Frank and stars Jack O’Connell, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy and Merrit Wever.

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID!

Finally, an episode we’ve been looking towards since the start, one of the most beloved American Westerns and a film listed on the AFI’s list of Hundred Best Films: 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, featuring the classic pairing of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the titular roles. An affable, seriocomic romp through the end of the legendary Old West, the film features two of the greatest movie stars in history defining and perfecting their screen personas. The film, a loose ramble about the adventures of two infamous bank robbers, features countless iconic scenes, a delightful oscar-winning screenplay with hilarious dialogue written by William Goldman and a contentious 60s-influenced score by Burt Bacharach, which despite its Oscar wins and fame, kind of rubs Dad the wrong way! Topics of conversation include Dad’s Robert Redford story, the historic pairing of these two actors (as well as alternative Sundances originally approached for the role), whether or not the film is a deconstruction, Hugh Jackman’s high level of charm and low level of good movies, the role of destiny and fate in the story, and of course the famous ending, as well as the conspiracy theory regarding Butch’s ultimate fate (and whether it even matters anymore). Great film, you should watch.

We also talk a bit about Playoff Football and the Vince Vaughn film Brawl in Cell Block 99, written and directed by S Craig Zahler (of Bone Tomahawk fame). If you’d like to reach us online, please email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com, where you can ask questions or suggest episodes, and visit us at westernswithdad.com to download older episodes that have dropped off the iTunes feed. And speaking of iTunes, why not leave reviews or ratings of the show there, as it increases visibility! Alright!

Next week, we’ll be talking about Netflix’s new limited series, Godless. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid stars Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross, and was directed by George Roy Hill.

EBENEZER!

Merry Christmas, everyone! On this special holiday episode of Westerns With Dad, we’re discussing the little-seen 1997 Canadian TV production, Ebenezer! Starring noted Western stars Jack Palance and Ricky Schroeder, it’s an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ oft-adapted classic, A Christmas Carol, reset in the Old West. Utterly inessential, clearly not intended for posterity, and fairly half-assed in every aspect of production, it works best as a clear demonstration of both Jack Palance’s dynamic charisma and the utter indestructibility of the Dickens story. This ends up being a bit of a love letter to both Palance (oh, so many impersonations), and to the original story and its myriad adaptations, many of which we reflect on. The general agreement is that the Alastair Sim version is the best. We detail the strange decisions and adaptation choices made in transposing this story to the Old West, covering such topics of conversation as the the hugely underwhelming ghosts, particularly the largely unremarked-on Native American Christmas Past, imagined head canon for Fred Scrooge’s arrival in the Canadian frontier, Palance reading EE Cummings, the strange, presumably-Canadian uniforms the constabulary wears, and a brief accounting of some of our favorite other Christmas films, with a digression on the current whereabouts of Christmas Vacation’s Randy Quaid, now a mythic folk hero.

We also discuss the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, which we both liked quiet a bit. We’ll be back in January with the frequently requested 70s classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! In the meantime, you can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can download older episodes of the podcast that have dropped off iTunes (such as the Balance starring Shane and City Slickers). You can email us as well, at westernswithdad@gmail.com, where you can ask us questions of suggest future episodes, and speaking of iTunes, why not rate or review the show there to increase our search engine viability! As we have no presence on Twitter or Reddit, it’s the only means we have of promoting the show! Happy Holidays!

Ebenezer was directed by Ken Jubenvill and stars Jack Palance and Ricky Schroeder, which is about it.

TRUE GRIT 1969 & 2010!!

On this belated episode, we are talking about both versions of the Charlie Portis novel True Grit! The original, from 1969, is famously the film that won John Wayne his Oscar, and the 2010 remake from the Coen Brothers! Both are great, as it turns out, and surprisingly similar in a number of ways (largely owing to the use of Portis’ dialogue, we assume, having not read the original book). Both are largely esteemed classics of the genre, well worth your time, although they’re so beloved you’ve probably seen one or both already. Topics of conversation include a merciless comparison of each film’s lead performance (in which Dad discovers a new appreciation of Kim Darby), a few digressions on the Coens filmography, the popularity of Jeff Bridges’ performance as Rooster Cogburn and his attempts to reuse it in the following years, and a fair number of impersonations, of Bridges, Wayne, Robert Duvall, and Josh Brolin’s mush-mouthed villain Tom Chaney. Thanks for waiting for us on our late holiday schedule!

We talk a little about current Western projects to keep an eye on, and other recent viewings (Dad’s umpteenth viewing of A Christmas Story, and my appreciation of Guillermo del Toro’s latest, a interspecies romance set during the Red Scare, The Shape of Water. In the next episode of Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about a barely known Canadian TV movie entitled Ebenezer, a Western-set Christmas Carol retelling starring Jack Palance! Who knows how that’ll go!

True Grit 1969 stars John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell and Robert Duvall. True Grit 2010 stars Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin.

DEAD MAN!

Jim Jarmusch’s utterly bizarre 1995 ‘Acid Western’ Dead Man is the subject of this episode, featuring Johnny Depp at his height as a tenderfoot traveling into the Frontier and also, potentially, the reincarnation of the poet William Blake. Shot in B&W and featuring a unique Neil Young soundtrack, Dead Man defies easy description and is a strong contender for strangest film we’ve covered on the show. And while I reveled in the unusual, avant-garde style and philosophical explorations, Dad found the whole thing remarkably interminable, a word that will come up more than a few times when describing the experience of watching it! Real split decision on this one. Topics of conversation include solipsism, the most likely interpretation of the film (involving a soul’s journey from life to death), the gorgeous desolation captured on film, the huge list of entertaining and confusing cameos the film boasts (Robert Mitchum! Crispin Glover! Iggy Pop!), the moments of shocking violence or striking dream imagery, Neil Young’s aggressively atonal and divisive score, the value of confrontational art, and the validity of Acid Western as a categorization. There’s also some good car horns in the background for you! Can’t be helped sometimes, my street’s a disaster lately.

Letting you in on the behind the scenes drama a bit here, we had some internet issues while recording this, and one thing that got lost by the way side was Other Things We’ve Seen Lately! For the record, I saw the new Thor movie (funny!) and the new Justice League movie (boring!), and I assume Dad watched the Seahawks season kind of start slipping away. Come visit us online at westernswithdad.com and email any episode recommendations or questions to westernswithdad@gmail.com, and why not come by iTunes and leave us a rating or review? It improves our visibility! On the next episode, we’ll be talking about both versions of the Western classic, True Grit!

Dead Man was directed by Jim Jarmusch and stars Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott and a whole bunch of other people.

JUBAL!

Coming from director Delmar Daves, 1956’s Jubal tells a story of sexual obsession on the open plains, highly reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Othello. Starring Glenn Ford as stoic loner Jubal Troop, it has come to more prominence lately, possibly owing to a fine Criterion restoration,  and features a cast of beloved character actors sinking their teeth into some high melodrama with aplomb. An unusually adult 50s western, it’s worth a look for its maturity and as usual, its glorious location photography, as well as a divisive Rod Steiger performance as the Iago of the piece. Topics of conversation include the sexual politics of the story, the morality of Valerie French’s femme fatale, a bit of talk of star Ernest Borgnine’s other great roles (including his wolf pit scene in The Vikings), Glenn Ford’s perhaps excessive stoicism, the abruptness of the conclusion, early Charles Bronson, the status bestowed by a Criterion edition, and man, so many Rod Steiger impersonations. There’s a lot of that. Good movie, as Dad would say. Check out Jubal! And thanks to Ron for the suggestion! Please keep those coming. Also, I have a cold in this one, and though I’ve edited out as many gross sniffles as I could, I’m sure a few snuck in. For this, I apologize.

We also discuss some TV, specifically Dad’s current regimen of old Westerns and my recent delve into the new season of Stranger Things (and how it relates to the shows we used to watch in the 80s). If you’d like to suggest a movie or ask a question, please email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com! Also, you can help the podcast by leaving ratings and reviews on iTunes, which increases our visibility! Cool! If you’d like to hear back episodes of the show (beyond what’s on iTunes), they’re all there on our website, westernswithdad.com! On the next episode of the show, we’ll be talking about Jim Jarmusch’s odd, poetic 90s western Dead Man, starring Johnny Depp and a bunch of familiar faces. Should be weird!

Jubal was directed by Delmar Daves, and stars Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Valerie French and Charles Bronson.

GRIM PRAIRIE TALES!

To finish out our October tradition of Spooky Westerns, we wanted to talk about Near Dark, the cult classic vampire western from academy award winning director Kathryn Bigelow, but due to a lack of streaming options, we were unable to easily find it and instead watched a forgotten anthology Horror film no one remembers or cares about, Grim Prairie Tales! In truth, I’ve always been curious about this bizarre title, starring terrific character actors James Earl Jones and Brad Dourif as wandering cowboys sharing a campfire and swapping ghost stories. And it’s not really that good, I’m afraid, but it’s pretty weird, and there simply aren’t any other films quite like this. Dad is perhaps a bit less forgiving. Topics of conversation include the YouTube rip we watched and its horrible picture quality, some Brad Dourif fawning, my debunked theory on the Indian Burial Ground story and its root in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the film’s ambitious feint towards social issues featuring William Atherton as a murderous pilgrim (with a sidebar on Atherton’s post-Ghostbusters woes), several occasions where the storytelling fails, better movies it reminded us of, such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which I wish this ended like. A lot of it is us trying not to laugh too meanly, admittedly, but in the end, I enjoyed my time with the film. And again, Dad, less so. You get some impersonations of Jones and Dourif too. You should all see Near Dark though!

 

We also spend some time discussing a more successful genre mashup, Tales from the Hood, which employs a similar strategy of utilizing the Horror anthology format but to much better effect. On the next episode, we’ll be discussing Jubal, a Western reworking of Othello starring Glenn Ford and Ernest Borgnine. You can find us online at westernwithdad.com and iTunes, of course (please leave us ratings and reviews to increase the visibility of the podcast!), and you can email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com, where you can suggest future episodes and also ask us questions!

 

Grim Prairie Tales was directed by Wayne Coe and stars James Earl Jones, Brad Dourif and William Atherton.

HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER!

Once again, October means that we’re talking about Horror and Horror-Adjacent movies on Westerns With Dad, and this time, it’s Clint Eastwood’s 1973 allegory about Divine Justice, High Plains Drifter! Taking the form of a more traditional yarn – a town, threatened by villains, hires a gunslinger to defend them – this film slowly reveals itself to be far more diabolic than it initially seems. Topics of conversation include John Wayne’s habit of letting you know when he’s been offended, old Tales From the Crypt comics, the ugly sexual politics of the film’s infamous rape as retribution sequence, Eastwood’s narrow window of screen persona, the evocative excellence of the film’s location shooting, the unseen moral laws of the universe, and their enforcement by Divine Grace, and a wide variety of theories regarding the movie’s relationship with the supernatural world. You’ll get some Clint impersonations, sure, but there’s quite a bit of talk about Hell and God and the Vengeance. In short, one of my favorite kind of episodes. There’s also some construction work happening in the background, which has been a constant of life in my apartment for about a week and a half now! I’m sorry about that!

Near the end, we spend a little bit of time discussing Barry Lyndon and The Dead Zone. Please visit us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can download episodes that have moved off the iTunes feed, and if you’d like to email us with ideas for movies or any questions or insights, you can do so at westernswithdad@gmail.com. Additionally, why not leave us ratings and reviews on the aforementioned iTunes? It improves the profile of the show and makes us happy!

On the next scary Halloween episode of Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about either the Kathryn Bigelow Southern-Fried vampire flick Near Dark, or the completely unknown collection of Western-themed Horror stories, Grimm Prairie Tales! If you’ve got a preference, let us know! Although it will probably come down to availability.

High Plain Drifter stars Clint Eastwood and was directed by Clint Eastwood.

LITTLE BIG MAN!

Arthur Penn’s rambling, whimsical approach to the Western, Little Big Man follows the long life of Dustin Hoffman’s Jack Crabb, a white man raised amongst the Cheyenne Indians, and observes the wave of Manifest Destiny rise, crest and recede in the American frontier! One of the early examples of the Revisionist Western, this film takes on the Native American genocide in America directly and yet still manages to be a sly, satirical comedy, while making its point crystal clear. We really liked this one, especially me, as I had never had the experience of seeing it before. A really smart, humanist adventure yarn, and of one the best discoveries I’ve had in the course of this podcast. Topics of conversation include Dustin Hoffman’s method acting proclivities, the popular cinematic portrayals of such larger than life characters as General Custer and Wild Bill Hickok, the gap between truth and story, White Privilege as employed by Jack Crabb, 70s melancholy and mythbusting, Superman’s nemesis Bizarro, and Arthur Penn’s emulation of the style of the picaresque novel in telling the story of the West. You get some impersonations of Hoffman’s old man voice, a few silly British characters, stuff like that. This movie’s great!

Other films (and TV) discussed are an old Western Dad caught on TV called The Streets of Laredo and The Great British Baking Show. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can find older episode of the show that have dropped off iTunes, and you can email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com, where you can suggest episodes and ask any questions you might have! And please leave ratings and reviews on iTunes, as they increase the visibility of the show, and make us feel good!

On the next episode, we’ll be discussing the Clint Eastwood’s dark fable about retribution, High Plains Drifter. Little Big Man was directed by Arthur Penn and stars Dustin Hoffman, Chief Dan George, Faye Dunaway and Martin Balsam.

THE MAN FROM LARAMIE!

It’s been too long since we’ve talked Jimmy Stewart on Westerns With Dad, so it’s time to revisit his series of collaborations with director Anthony Mann, with The Man From Laramie! Their final film together, it tells the story of Will Lockhart, seeking justice for his dead brother in the isolated town of Coronado. Once there, he become entangled in a messy family squabble involving illegally sold rifles, a feud between wealthy land owners, and Jack Elam as some kind of bizarre jerk. Topics of conversation include the Dad’s fondness of the old Drive-In theaters, the film’s much touted Cinemascope filming, Dad knowing all the character actors in it and me knowing none of them, the allusions to both King Lear and Charlemagne in the film’s legacy battles, how terrific Jack Lemmon is in The Great Race, and my opinion that the movie has the wrong protagonist and point of view character. And there are of course a few Jimmy Stewart impersonations.

In addition, I have some thoughts about how delightful I found the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, my recommendation falling on Dad’s deaf ears. On the next episode of Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about Dustin Hoffman’s Little Big Man. If you want to help out the podcast, please be so kind as to leave ratings and reviews for us on iTunes, as it helps increase the visibility of the show. Also, we have episodes that have fallen off the iTunes feed available on our website, westernwithdad.com, including Anthony Mann’s The Naked Spur. You can reach us directly by emailing us at westernswithdad@gmail.com, were you can request episodes or ask us questions to be answered on the podcast! How about all that?

The Man From Laramie was directed by Anthony Mann and stars Jimmy Stewart, Arthur Kennedy and Donald Crisp.

LONESOME DOVE!

On this episode, one of Dad’s favorites’ the TV miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove! One of television’s most celebrated series, it tells the epic story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana, taking the time to explore the details of frontier life and the the expansive branching stories of over a dozen characters. At its centerpiece is a all time great performance by Robert Duvall, at his most charming and magnetic, with a number of other esteemed western actors along the way, played by such grizzled visages as Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Urich, Danny Glover, Chris Cooper and Angelica Huston. And Diane Lane as a young prostitute! There’s an enormous amount of incident, all of it informing the whole in such a way that one could argue that Lonesome Dove is the ultimate Western, offering pretty much everything one could ask for in the genre. Topics of conversation include the differences between TV now and TV thirty years ago, the leisurely pace of a western novel (as opposed to a western film), the enigma of the title, Robert Duvall’s excellence as demonstrated by his character’s predilection for whores, the dance between the romance of the story’s western adventures and its bleak, downbeat realism, especially with regards to mortality and the fragility of life on the trail, and a little bit of a chat on the John Huston classic The Man Who Would Be King, Michael Caine impersonation and all. It shares a helpful ghost with Lonesome Dove! We tried to not to let this one get too long, but this is an epic story, full of meanders and digressions, which kind of informs any conversation about it as well.

Additionally, we talk a bit about the new WWII film Dunkirk, which is awesome and Dad enjoyed very much, and I have some thoughts about the surprisingly creepy Mrs. Doubtfire, the Robin Williams family comedy about gaslighting and revenge. Visit us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can download older episode that have fallen off the iTunes feed! And also, if you’ve got questions or requests, please send them to westernswithdad@gmail.com, and why not leave positive ratings and reviews on iTunes, as that certainly helps us out! On the next episode, we’re back to Jimmy Stewart, with The Man From Laramie.

Lonesome Dove was directed by Simon Wincer and scored by Basil Poledouris, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. It stars a career-best Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane, Robert Urich, Danny Glover and a bunch of other famous people.

THE COWBOYS!

This episode features one of Dad’s favorites, The Cowboys, starring John Wayne. A classic cattle drive Western, this movie features Wayne acting as mentor to cadre of boys on the cusp of manhood, finding adventures, life lessons and tragedy on the open range. And after years of less than favorable memories of a fairly stodgy film I didn’t connect with, I was surprised to discover that this isn’t the middling boy’s adventure film I recalled, but rather a elegiac rumination on aging and the turning of generations, and an examination of the rites of manhood. Featuring terrific supporting turns by Roscoe Lee Brown and Bruce Dern, it features Wayne at his most iconic, and is especially notable for a unpredictable third act plot development that spins the film off into semi-shocking quest for vengeance. We both agree it’s pretty cool. Topics of conversation include Wayne’s ‘old man’ period, the sliminess of Bruce Dern, films this one might have inspired, the pathetic little nerdy kid with glasses, John Williams’s overactive score, the shocking deaths in the film and their aftermath, and a digression in which Dad tells stories about drinking back in the day! Pretty great stuff.

Other films discussed are the disappointing and silly Kong: Skull Island and The Dark Tower. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, and of course on iTunes. Please be sure to leave us ratings and reviews on that self same iTunes, by the way, and if you have any questions you’d like us to answer or movies you’d like us to talk about, please send us an email at westernswithdad@gmail.com! And join us in two weeks for our discussion of the landmark TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove!

The Cowboys was released in 1972, and was directed by Mark Rydell and stars John Wayne, Bruce Dern and Roscoe Lee Browne.

BLAZING SADDLES!

In this episode, we’re talking about the legitimate comedy classic, Mel Brooks’s 1974 western satire, Blazing Saddles! Largely agreed upon to be the funniest western ever made, it tells the story of a black sheriff appointed to a small town full of racists to better facilitate a land grab. But the narrative is very much secondary to the comedy set pieces, the incredible, career-defining performances, the flat out gigantic BALLS this movie displays every step of the way. We’re talking about Richard Pryor, John Wayne, farting, the frequently-used N-word, the inspiration for Governor William J LePetomane, Harvey Korman’s mastery of the ball-and-paddle game, the Mel Brooks filmography (with special attention paid to the Hey Abbott! joke in Robin Hood: Men Tights), the bravery of racial charged genitalia comedy, Hedy Lamarr’s lawsuit, the inexplicable chaos of the film’s final half hour, and the less than stellar other entries in the Western Comedy subgenre. There’s also more impersonations than usual, lots of Harvey Korman.

Briefly discussed at the end are the Mariners and their doomed season Dad is somehow optimistic about, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. You can find us online at westernswithdad.com, where back episodes not available on the iTunes feed can be downloaded (such as Shane, The Magnificent Seven, and if you’re looking for more talk about America’s problems with race, The Hateful Eight). You can also email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com, where you can ask us questions or suggest titles for future episodes. And please rate and review us on iTunes to help increase the visibility of the show! How about that!

On the next episode, an late, elegiac John Wayne film about the turning of generations, The Cowboys. Blazing Saddles was directed by Mel Brooks, and stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Madeleine Kahn, Slim Pickens and Mel Brooks.

THUNDERHEART!

In this episode, we discuss the largely uncommented-on Thunderheart, a 1992 police-on-a-reservation film inspired by the tumultuous events that took place during the 1970s. It stars Val Kilmer as a Federal Agent investigating a murder occurring amidst deep civil unrest. Featuring terrific supporting performances by Sam Shepard and Graham Greene, this movie offers a glimpse into a world very rarely seen in movies, either classic era westerns or in modern times! Topics of conversation include one of our favorites, whether or not this is a proper western, similar reservation-themed stories in popular culture (Tony Hillerman and Longmire), a cursory discussion of the Leonard Peltier story that inspired the film, vacation memories of visiting South Daktoa’s Badlands, wild speculation about Sam Shepard’s lovelife, the process of receiving a rabies shot, Johnny Depp’s Tonto, a theoretical peyote sequence cut from the film, and an extended ramble about the differences between how mainstream and offshoot faiths are represented in film. Also, and this is important to note, the film’s talented director, Michael Apted is indeed still alive and his Up documentary series is in fact still ongoing! Sorry about the confusion there. Michael Apted is great. He made Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Other films discussed at the end of the female-focused recent releases Hidden Figures and The Beguiled, both receiving mild recommends! If you’d like to hear back episodes not listed on the iTunes feed, you can find them on our website, westernswithdad.com. Also, please leave us ratings and reviews on itunes! Also, if you would like us to answer any western-related questions you might have, or would perhaps like to hear us talk about a specific film, please email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com! Hey, why not?

Thunderheart is a 1992 release, starring Val Kilmer, Graham Greene and Sam Shepard. It was directed by the very much alive Michael Apted.

DEADWOOD SEASON ONE!

This is an episode I’ve been dying to try out since we started, an in depth look at HBO’s brilliant Western TV show Deadwood. Starring Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant, it tells the story of the historic South Dakota mining camp where Will Bill Hickok was killed. This being the first episode we’ve done wherein we try to cover the entire breadth of a television season, of one of the more complicated and philosophical television shows ever made, we are all over the map with this, bouncing across the season’s larger plot lines, and I hope it makes sense! We talk about the history the prestige series on HBO, the way the show deconstructs the very idea of good guy versus bad guy in its portrayals of Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen, the show’s larger thematic concerns regarding the impromptu formation of society, the amazing and impressive set constructed for the show, and quite a bit about the show’s characters and plot lines, and their amazingly intricate overlaps and intricacies. Look, I’m not gonna lie, I just go on and on in this one, I can talk about this show forever. I’m doing impersonations of Doc Cochrane, EB Farnum, The Reverend Smith, it’s pretty indulgent. Look there, I just listed those names with the confidence you’d know who I was referring to. So self indulgent. It’s a lot to take in, I’m not gonna lie, and our longest episode to date. But the point is, you should watch Deadwood. It’s absolutely brilliant. There’s two whole seasons after it that we don’t touch on. Watch them before we try to take those on as well!

The only other thing we’ve been watching is American Gods, the new Ian McShane starring show, now on Starz. With all our chatting, we never even get around to all the ways you can reach us. Visit us on the web at westernswithdad.com, and if you have questions or requests for us, please email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com. You can also find back episodes available for download on our website! In the next episode, we’ll be talking about Thunderheart, a modern day western starring Val Kilmer.

Deadwood was created by David Milch, and stars Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, William Sanderson, Powers Boothe, John Hawkes, Paula Malcolmson, W Earl Brown, Brad Dourif, Robin Weigert and Keith Carradine.

RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY!

1962’s Ride the High Country is the subject of this week’s episode. An early Sam Peckinpah and a late victory lap for golden age Western stars Joel McRea and Randolph Scott, it follows a pair of aging gunslingers as they attempt to transport gold cross country. It’s a nice adventure film about the twilight of the West, and a pair of aging gunslingers wondering what their place will be in the days to come. And also an odd little jaunt of a film involving Carnival barkers, farmer’s daughters, and rowdy miners, plus a surprising amount of sexual assault. The plot twists in a few unexpected ways and we both end up liking it very much. Topics of conversation include the semiotics of the Wild West Stunt Show, various forms of masculine competition, Randolph Scott’s surprising range as an actor, Double Feature matinees back in the day, the showcase Wedding at a brothel sequence, the etymology of the word ‘horndog’, and the slight cheap out of the final shootout. Solid movie, and another strong showing on the podcast for Randolph Scott.

Other films discussed, in fairly perfunctory fashion, are a George McGovern western Dad can’t recall the name of, and Wonder Woman. This episode was a recommendation from a listener like you! If there’s a Western you’d like to hear an episode about, or have any questions you’d like to hear us answer on the show, let us now at westernswithdad@gmail.com! And visit us at our website, westernswithdad.com! And why not also got to iTunes and leave us a rating and/or review, which improves the visibility of the show! Next time, we’ll be talking about one of my favorite things ever, the first season of the HBO television series Deadwood. I’ve been waiting for this one, let me tell you.

Ride the High Country stars Randolph Scott, Joel McRea, Marietta Hartley, RG Armstrong and Warren Oates, and was directed by Sam Peckinpah.

FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE!

Returning to the Spaghetti Western and the films of Sergio Leone, this episode focuses on the middle entry in the Man With No Name trilogy, For a Few Dollars More. Bringing back Clint Eastwood’s iconic gunslinger and adding Lee Van Cleef’s mysterious counterpoint, it’s the most underrated of the series, and a whole hell of a lot of fun. In talking about this film, we also get into Dad’s specific disinterest in the stylistic cheapery of these films, as discussed in such previous episodes. They’re just not his thing! As it turns out, they are kind of my thing, and we discuss the reasons why this might be. Topics of conversation include such Spaghetti Western hallmarks as bad ADR and unusual sound effects, the film’s ‘procedural bounty hunter’ story, the possibility that the central characters in this film are inhuman aspects of the West, or perhaps just death-worshipping lunatics, the greatness of Van Cleef, and the decadent mania of the villain El Indio. There’s a part where I stumble about trying to articulate whether these are the definitive cinematic bounty hunters and their place in history, leading up to Dog the Bounty Hunter. Dad shuts me down.

There’s a bit of conversation at the end about the new Alien: Covenant, and its ambitions to be a deep space Frankenstein story about the end of God. I found it very interesting. In the next episode, we’ll be talking about our first Sam Peckinpah film, Ride the High Country, starring Randolph Scott and Joel McRea. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com and email us any thoughts you’ve had or questions you’d like us to answer in the next episode at westernswithdad@gmail.com. And why not leave us reviews and ratings on iTunes, which helps improve our visibility! Thanks a lot!

For a Few Dollars More was directed by Sergio Leone and stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef.

THE SALVATION!

In attempting to examine the breadth of the Western genre, we want to focus on films from all eras, and that includes the modern movie landscape. So this week, we’re taking a look at The Salvation, a genre exercise from only a few years ago! Starring acclaimed actor Mads Mikkelsen, this is a modern version of the familiar revenge thriller, set in the old west. It features a pretty terrific cast and a solid set-up, but both Dad and I feel it doesn’t quite do enough to distinguish itself, especially in failing to fully embrace the things that make it unique. In particular, the character’s status as Danish immigrants, a tantalizing plot and thematic idea that ends up not going much of anywhere. Topics of conversation include the Dogme 95 movement and provocateur filmmaker Lars Von Trier, the constant use of dark, oily filters, the sometimes in-your-face nihilism of the chosen subject matter, how terrific Mads is as the new Hannibal Lector, how terrific costar Eva Green is on her own TV show, Penny Dreadful, the surprisingly nasty and evil townspeople presented in the film, the enigma of the titular Salvation, and my speculation that the film is actually about what drives people who have been constantly victimized to survive, although that may actually be reaching a bit. This has a bit more digressions than usual, but then, it’s not a film with an excess to discuss, I’m afraid.

At the end, we discuss Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and its very charismatic use of Tombstone actors in prominent roles. There’s also a bit of talk of the new Dark Tower trailer, and the ways it may overlap into the Western genre. Please visit us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can hear back episodes of the show, and also hey, how about leaving us ratings and reviews on iTunes? That’d work out great for us! Next week, we’ll be talking about the middle segment in Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name trilogy, For a Few Dollars More!

The Salvation was directed by Kristian Levring and stars Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Jonathan Pryce.

THE SEARCHERS!

The Searchers, 1956, is arguably the greatest Western ever made. The most acclaimed film from both John Ford and John Wayne, it tells the purely American story of a kidnapped young girl and the two men driven to recover her, amidst the bloody crucible of the American Indian Wars. Both lauded for its artistic mastery and a bit notorious for its portrayal of Native Americans, it’s as fundamental as the genre gets, and features a truly revelatory performance from the never-better John Wayne. Might be Dad’s favorite movie. We talk about its inherent greatness a lot, and also the surprising brutality and darkness that gives it such depth. Topics of conversation include the glory of Monument Valley, the film’s evoking of community and day to day life in the Old West, the greatness of the undervalued second lead Jeffrey Hunter, the horror of frontier life (as exemplified by the terrifying ‘lantern scene’), the film’s efficacy as an early revisionist western, the questionable use of comic relief characters, the shocking hatred and viciousness of Wayne’s lead character Ethan Edwards, the difference between a racist film and a film with racist characters, and of course, the film’s famous and iconic final shot, as well as its place in film history. Oh, it’s really something, and it’s been a legitimate concern for us that we won’t be able to fully do it justice. As a production note, my apologies on the larger-than-usual bit of ambient sound. It’s not a real problem or anything, but its a hair less professional than we’re trying to be here.

Additional films discussed are Maureen O’Hara’s essentially unknown Cherokee Territory and the new adventure epic The Lost City of Z. You can reach us through our website, westernswithdad.com, or email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com Also, why not leave us a review and/or rating on the iTunes website, which will no doubt enhance your social standing and bless you with a fine and full harvest. Next week, we’ll be discussing a far more recent offering, the newish Danish immigrant western, The Salvation, starring Mads Mikkelsen and available now on Netflix!

The Searchers was directed by John Ford and stars John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Natalie Wood and Ward Bond. And a bunch of other people.

DISNEY’S DAVY CROCKETT

The TV miniseries that took 1950s American by storm, the focus of this episode is Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett franchise, starring Fess Parker as the titular frontiersman. Appearing on ABC’s Disneyland television show starting in 1954, this was the crown jewel of Walt Disney’s TV empire and the cornerstone of the beloved Frontierland in Anaheim’s Disneyland Theme Park, leading to the so-called ‘Crockett Craze’, which took the country’s youth by storm, leading to a deluge of coonskin caps and trading cards, all of which Dad was very much caught well up in. Comprised of five parts over several years, the series was unprecedented in its popularity, and I would argue, its influence, as it was one of the most popular Westerns ever produced. Does it hold up? Pretty much, although it’s tough to say for sure, as we’re both kind of overcome by a wave of nostalgia when it comes to this property. This episode dives into the series, and more than usual into the phenomena surrounding it, as it offers a pretty fascinating window into Walt Disney’s empire at the height of his influence. We talk about the Disneyland TV show and the the park as well, which we just so happened to have visited last week, as well as Dad’s childhood Disney fascination (and a chance encounter with Walt in the actual Frontierland). But the Crockett wormhole goes even deeper, offering a chance to explore the foundational American mythology as expressed in tall tales and folklore, branching into Crockett’s role as a legendary figure and how that influenced Manifest Destiny and the arranging of westward expansion as a tenet of the national identity! There’s even an extended discussion of Crockett’s death at the Alamo (and its representation by Disney), the blunt racial language that used to be par for the course when portraying Native Americans and way Cowboys and Indians defines the pioneer spirit of the America, the dangerous allure of the mythic Frontierland, Georgie Russell’s general inadequacy, Disney’s multiple attempts to duplicate Crockett’s success, the tradition of boasting and yelling in folklore, especially as represented by Mike Fink, King of the River, and of course, that part in Mr Toad’s Wild Ride where you go to Hell. It’s a pretty packed episode, our longest to date, but also some of the most fun we’ve had doing the show.

And then at the end we talk a little bit about the new Beauty and the Beast remake. It’s an afterthought. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at another significant one, maybe the most significant: The Searchers, starring John Wayne. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, or email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com. Please leave ratings and reviews for us on iTunes!

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier stars Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen. Davy Crockett and the River Pirates does too, plus Jeff Yorke as Mike Fink.

3:10 TO YUMA (1957 & 2007)!!

There are two notable films entitled 3:10 To Yuma, and we’ll be taking a look at both in this episode. There’s the 1957 original, a B&W studio Western directed by Delmar Davis, and the 2007 remake from James Mangold, with a cast full of famous names. It turns out both are pretty worthwhile, and in fact, they make a very interesting point/counterpoint next to each other, coming at similar thematics from very different perspectives. Dad and I do end up deciding we preferred one over the other, but the experience of watching both is probably what made them most fun to talk about. A lot of that turns on the dramatic difference in the endings, which we discuss at length, as well as many other changes both deliberate and accidental, clever and ill-advised. Further topics of conversation include Van Heflin’s frequently shamed masculinity, how cool murder can be, Seth Rogen’s suitability for the genre, the merits of a stacked supporting cast versus a well cast two-hander, Elmore Leonard, Logan Lerman, Russell Crowe’s ability to biologically secrete dinner forks, and a few of our most frequently revisited themes, Native Americans used as dangerous window dressing and the morality of just plain killing bad guys for the greater good. As usual, we liked the films very much, and you should probably see them, if you haven’t already.

We spend so much time on 3:10 To Yuma that we’re fairly brief on other films we’ve seen, but we spend some time singing the praises of Logan, the most recent James Mangold film, which quite deliberately quotes Shane as a thematic inspiration. Next time on the podcast, we’ll be talking about Disney’s Davy Crockett in all its permutations, as well as Disney’s input on the Western genre, back in the day. You can reach us through westernswithdad@gmail.com, and please rate and review us on iTunes! It’s helpful for our visibility on iTunes!

3:10 To Yuma (1957) stars Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, and was directed by Delmar Daves. 3:10 To Yuma (2007) stars Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster, and was directed by James Mangold.

LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL!

In this episode, we have a discussion about another listener request, 1959’s Last Train From Gun Hill, a John Sturges potboiler revenge yarn starring Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. And this one is pretty damn kickass. Telling the story of Marshall Matt Morgan’s quest for justice after the rape and murder of his wife, it features a lot of familiar tropes and characterizations mixed up in a pretty unique way, and as we detail at length, bares an enormous number of similarities to the recent, excellent Keanu Reeves action film John Wick. So much so, in fact, that I believe it was likely a driving inspiration for that movie! There’s a large amount of John Wick talk in this episode, as a matter of fact, and I recommend both as companion films. Topics of conversation include Dad absolutely taking Dimitri Tiomkin to task for his mediocrity, the greatness of Kirk Douglas in a rage, the copious great dialogue sequences throughout the film, a creative take on the femme fatale (as played by Morticia Addams!), Anthony Quinn’s racial mutability, and just our general appreciation of the film itself. This is a damn good one, and for me, who had never even heard of it before we selected it, quite the find. We also do some low quality Kirk Douglas impersonations.

Other films discussed are, quite appropriately, John Wick Part II, which Dad just saw in theaters, and Get Out, which I saw. We like both of them immensely. There’s also a quick anecdote about the 80s adaptation of Masters of the Universe, the Dolph Lundgren film. In the next episode, we’ll be experimenting with our format very slightly, and talking about two films. Though to be fair, they’re both called 3:10 To Yuma. It’ll be the original and the remake. You can reach us at westernswithdad@gmail.com (let us know what movies you’d like to hear us talk about!), and please leave ratings and reviews for us on iTunes, which is helpful to the show!

Last Train From Gun Hill was directed by John Sturges and stars Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. As a special note, the music this week is not from Last Train From Gun Hill, but another Dimitri Tiomkin score, The Guns of the Navarone! Dad says they all sound the same!

MY NAME IS NOBODY!

Far and away one of the strangest films we’ve discussed on the podcast, right up there with the cannibal movies, is My Name Is Nobody, a comedic send-up of the Spaghetti Westerns from the very people who created them. Starring the legendary Henry Fonda and a goofy blonde himbo named Terence Hill, it kind of tells the story of an aging gunslinger and the younger man who idolizes him. It’s got a lot of familiar tropes from the Western, Spaghetti and otherwise, thrown into a hopper and shaken and tossed around, until they come out on the other side completely disoriented and confused. But it’s mostly pretty fun! Topics of conversation include the films’ experimental approach to filmmaking, the ugliness of the supporting cast, how much it is or isn’t like Looney Tunes and Unforgiven, my familiar “Prankster God” interpretation (as well as a host of other metaphysical fan theories I float), how much the titular Nobody has in common with Heath Ledger’s Joker, the successful subversion of the familiar revenge plot line, and a considered look at some of the film’s more awkward vignettes, such as a racially charged carnival game and a sensual piss joke.

We have a longer than usual segment on what else we’ve been watching this week, including such titles as Mourning Becomes Electra, Jaws, The Name of the Rose, Sully, and John Wick Part II, which ends up having a surprising connection to Open Range. This episode was a listener request (thanks Steve!) and we would be happy to take more. Please email us at westernswithdad@gmail.com to let us know what we should do an episode on. And why not visit us on iTunes and leave ratings an reviews? Eh? Next time on Westerns With Dad, we’ll be covering Last Train From Gun Hill, starring Kirk Douglas. It’s another listener request!

My Name is Nobody stars Henry Fonda and Terence Hill, and was directed by Tonino Valerii, from ‘an idea of Sergio Leone’.

HELL OR HIGH WATER!

In this episode, we take a good long look at last year’s Best Picture nominee, Hell of High Water, an entry into the modern Western subgenre, with elements of the Crime Thriller and a hint of Noir. It’s the socially relevant story of two brothers driven to bank robbery by a broken system that preys on the poor, and the Texas Ranger charged with hunting them down. Beyond the archetypes and familiar set-up, this terrific movie has a lot on its mind about the disenfranchised working class in America, which makes it an especially timely film to be watching nowadays. As is our custom, we try not to delve to deep into politics, but the very nature of this movie makes it difficult to avoid, and we do spend some time examining the cultural drives that force the protagonists, both as they pertain to the Western and the current climate of the world, specifically gun culture. I don’t think there’s anything here that’s going to bother anyone, but just so you know, we get into a bit. Beyond that, topics of conversation include how much we like Ben Foster, siding with the outlaws, the vanishing west of physical currency slot machines, the gorgeous cinematography of desolation, what I’d do if I was an idiot criminal, Jeff Bridges’s casual racism, and the foundational myth of Self-Determination in the American West! We also talk a fair amount about the Western genre’s representation at the Academy Awards. It’s a solid episode, moves pretty quick.You should all see the movie, it’s pretty good!

At the end of the episode, we spend some time talking about the new Tom Hanks Robert Langdon adventure, Inferno, as well as the franchise as a whole. There’s also a brief mention of John Wick and The Man Who Would Be King, which are both absolutely excellent. Watch them too! Next time on Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about the odd Western comedy My Name Is Nobody. It’s a listener request, and you can make one too by sending us an email at westernswithdad@gmail.com. And please give us reviews and ratings on iTunes!

Hell or High Water stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. It was written by Taylor Sheridan and directed by Benjamin Mackenzie.

HANG ‘EM HIGH!

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.