“Dead For A Dollar” – New Walter Hill Western

The title of the new Walter Hill Western “Dead for a Dollar” makes it sound like a spaghetti Western, and the picture opens with stunning vistas and a wistfully valorous neo-Morricone score that gives you the impression — maybe the hope — that it will be. It ends on a very different note: a series of titles explaining, with precise dates and details, what happened to each of the main characters, as if the film were based on a true story. Veteran bounty hunter Max Borlund heads deep into Mexican territory to find and return Rachel Kidd, the wife of a wealthy businessman. After learning she actually fled from the abusive marriage, Max faces a choice: finish the job he’s been hired to do, or stand aside while ruthless mercenary outlaws and his longtime rival close in on a town that’s been his temporary sanctuary.

"Dead For A Dollar" - New Walter Hill Western

Hill, who is now 80 but still directs with his lean-and-mean vigor and classical rawhide stoicism (the movie is dedicated to Budd Boetticher, the legendary low-budget Western director of the ’50s), builds “Dead for a Dollar” around a vintage confrontation between two men: Max Borlund, a bounty hunter played by Christoph Waltz with a worldly twinkle that basically allows him to parade himself as an impish assassin, and Joe Cribbens, a gambler and outlaw played by Willem Dafoe as the most live-and-let-live of sociopaths. These two live, in deed or spirit, outside the law. They’ve known each other a long time and collide in the opening scene, when Joe is being released from prison. But then they go their separate ways. The film turns its attention to Max on his latest mission-for-hire, which involves several characters you would never have seen in a Budd Boetticher movie of the ’50s, or even a Walter Hill Western of the ’70s or ’80s.

"Dead For A Dollar" - New Walter Hill Western

 

Chuckwagon: Cowboy Beans

Cowboy Beans

Ingredients:

2 cups dried red beans
2 cups dried pinto beans
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
3 green chile peppers, grilled and diced
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, grilled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
7 quarts water or vegetable stock
1 smoked ham hock
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed
1 bay leaf
2 whole dried red chile peppers
Salt and pepper, to taste
Soak beans overnight in water to cover, changing water once; drain.

Cowboy Beans

When cowboy beans are ready, saute onion, garlic, green chiles and tomatoes in oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add water or stock and ham hock; bring to a boil. Add beans, coriander seed, bay leaf and dried chiles. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, then lower heat, cover and simmer for three to four hours, until beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 16 servings.

Murder at Yellowstone City – Old West Film Out Now

Murder at Yellowstone City, directed by Richard Gray (Robert the Bruce), is a Old West film written by Eric Belgau (Robert the Bruce) sees a former slave arrive in Yellowstone City, Montana—a desolate former boomtown now on the decline—looking for a place to call home. On that same day, a local prospector discovers gold—and is murdered. It was the first production to be shot on a new Western backlot at the site that was once the real Yellowstone City. Gabriel Byrne (Hereditary), Thomas Jane (The Expanse), Isaiah Mustafa (It Chapter Two), Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws), Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars), Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Scottie Thompson (The Blacklist), Emma Kenney (The Conners) and Zach McGowan (Shameless) star.

Murder at Yellowstone City - Old West Film

Murder at Yellowstone City was produced by Gray, Robert Menzies (The Blackcoat’s Daughter), Kelly Frazier (From Black) and Lisa Wolofsky (Fatman). Jane and Courtney Lauren Penn of Renegade Entertainment exec produced alongside Carter Boehm, Julie Stagner, Will Lowery and Alexis d’Amecourt.

“I’ve dreamed about the wild west since I was a kid, so to make this film with such a talented cast at our own western backlot in Montana is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Gray. “It’s the first film ever shot at the Yellowstone Film Ranch. It’s a really special story – a thrilling western. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

“We’re thrilled to be releasing MURDER AT YELLOWSTONE CITY,” added RLJE Films’ Chief Acquisitions Officer, Mark Ward. “This Old West film offers a unique twist on the classic western and we look forward to working with the filmmakers and talented cast.”

Murder at Yellowstone City - Old West Film

RLJE Films is a business unit of AMC Networks. Its recent and upcoming films include writer-director Riley Stearns’ sci-fi thriller Dual, starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul; David Oyelowo’s directorial debut The Water Man; Amber Sealey’s Ted Bundy pic No Man of God, starring Elijah Wood and Luke Kirby; and the apocalyptic holiday dramedy Silent Night from writer-director Camille Griffin,which stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Roman Griffin Davis.

Old Henry (2021) – Great Old West Film

Gothic WestWith the gorgeous and stark grasslands of Waterford, Tennessee, standing in for 1906 Oklahoma, “Old Henry” opens with a scene worthy of Clint Eastwood’s Old West film such as “Pale Rider” and “Unforgiven”. Henry (Tim Blake Nelson) plays a widowed farmer and his estranged son Wyatt (Gavin Lewis), living out their days in a small, isolated patch of fertile land from which they scratch out a meager living. Things however, take an unexpected turn when a grievously injured stranger named Curry (Scott Haze) stumbles into their midst with a cash loot. Henry nurses the man back to health but is suspicious of Curry and the story he conjures. Soon enough a posse of unsavory characters headed by their vicious ringleader Ketchum (Stephen Dorff) turns up on their doorstep and all proverbial hell break loose.

By this point, we’ve come to suspect there’s more to Old Henry than meets the eye. He’s adept at tending to Curry’s wounds, he punches out Curry with fast efficiency at one point, he’s lightning-fast with a gun and he sure isn’t acting like a scared farmer when he’s told there’s a trio of killers headed this way. Writer-director Potsy Ponciroli does a magnificent job of creating a slow build of tension, punctuated by the occasional and stunning moment of violence. (There’s even a measure of dark and grisly humor, e.g., when a body is disposed of and hungry pigs are fed, and those are not disconnected occurrences.)

Gothic West

With beautiful, widescreen cinematography by John Matysiak, impeccable production design and a pitch-perfect score from Jordan Lehning, “Old Henry” is a well-paced and engrossing story — and that’s even before there’s a revelation that’s great (that we saw coming as soon as we heard a certain character’s name). The ensemble is uniformly excellent, but this is Tim Blake Nelson’s showcase from the moment he appears onscreen, and he delivers world-weary greatness every step of the way.

Heard Around the Bunkhouse #9 – Old West Speak

Old West speakIn our feature Heard Around the Bunkhouse we bring you Western and Old West Speak that they used back in the Wild West. Even we are amazed by the humor and originality they used. Hope you enjoy them, and send us your favorite terms from those past times.

COLD AS A WAGON WHEEL: A person who has been dead for several days.

DEAD MEAL: A corpse.

NOT ONE’S FUNERAL: None of one’s business.

SHOTGUN CHAPS: Leather leggings that encased the whole leg. The looks are similar to a double barreled shotgun.

SHOTGUN HOUSE: A house built with all the rooms in a row.

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