Ride the High Country

Everything about this picture has the ring of truth, from the unglamorous settings to the flavorful dialogue and the natural acting...pure gold.


Ride the High Country

Part of our Anniversary Classics series. For details, visit: laemmle.com/ac.
Ride the High Country is now regarded as one of the all-time western classics and was only the second feature film by director Sam Peckinpah, who had honed his writing-directing skills on  television westerns. Peckinpah also had a hand in revising an original screenplay by writer N.B.  Stone, Jr. about two aging former lawmen tasked with a gold delivery from a mining camp at the turn of the twentieth century. Hollywood Golden Age actors Randolph Scott (in his final film) and Joel McCrea portray the venerable gunfighters, appropriate casting for the veteran actors who had extended their careers in post-war screen oaters. The film also features Mariette Hartley in her screen debut and character actors Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, James Anderson, Edgar Buchanan, and R. G. Armstrong, with expert color cinematography by Lucien Ballard, another Golden Age veteran who became a frequent Peckinpah collaborator.

Ride the High Country’s setting at the twilight of the Old West and its theme of men who have outlived their times but cling to their moral code (for the most part) would be revisited by Peckinpah later in his career, most notably at the end of the decade in The Wild Bunch and into the 1970s in The Ballad of Cable Hogue and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Although The Wild Bunch would ensure his legacy, the underseen Ride the High Country is now considered a seminal film in the western canon and his first masterpiece. 

MGM underwent a regime change after the film's production wrapped and its new president thought so poorly of the film that it was relegated to the neighborhood theater circuits as the lower half of double bills, which effectively killed its U.S. box office. But critics worldwide rescued the film from obscurity and heralded the arrival of a major new talent in Peckinpah. Among the accolades were the Paris Council of Film Critics’ ranking as one of the best films of the year. Newsweek placed it atop their year-end ten best list, and upon its original release exclaimed, “In fact,  everything about this picture has the ring of truth, from the unglamorous settings to the flavorful dialogue and the natural acting,
Ride the High Country is pure gold.”
Not Rated
Western, Anniversary Classics, Drama
Sam Peckinpah
NB Stone Jr
Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, Mariette Hartley
There are currently no showtimes for this film. Please check back soon.