Four cowboys, trying to escape their pasts, are driving cattle and living off the land on the open range - free grazing outside of the law. When ruthless, evil rancher Denton Baxtor (Michael Gambon) tries to run them out of town, the men's peaceful existence takes a violent turn and ends in the grittiest, most explosive gunfight on film as two men battle for honour, justice and a way of life that's quickly disappearing.
An enjoyable and absorbing Western.
- Open Range review by Shatner's Bassoon
(2) of (2) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
The plot of ‘Open Range’ is fairly lightweight, with free-range cattlemen ‘Boss’ and ‘Charley’ driving their herd across the grass plains of Montana along with their hired hands ‘Mose’ and ‘Button’. After ‘Mose’ is sent into a nearby town to collect supplies, he is involved in an unfair fight and thrown into jail. When ‘Boss’ and ‘Charley’ ride into town looking for their friend they are told by the sheriff and local land baron Denton Baxter that free-rangers are not welcome in their town and to move on, and after their camp is attacked they are forced to make a decision, leave the herd and save themselves or face Baxter, his henchmen and his corrupt sheriff and make a stand. Though the plot is a little generic what sets ‘Open Range’ apart from the average western is a superb cast and incredibly well paced direction from Kevin Costner. Robert Duvall as ‘Boss’ always excels in this type of genre and Kevin Costner is surprisingly good as Duvall’s quieter, more reserved partner whose violent past as a former gunslinger and civil war soldier still haunts him. Costner’s direction and pacing of the film is spot on, opening the film in an idyllic landscape with a gentle tone which gradually turns darker as the story progresses, and the final 30 minutes of the film are genuinely tense and thrilling. If you’re looking for a decent western then this should be on your list, and if you enjoy ‘Open Range’ you should check out the superb ‘Broken Trail’ which is very similar in tone.
Good Ole Western
- Open Range review by Jean Browne
(2) of (3) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 3
My husband probably enjoyed this more than I did, but it was a very satisfying evening's viewing - as you would expect from Costner, this wasn't a prettified version of the West - and it was good to be reminded that cowboys actually herded cows in between getting into fights and philandering with bargirls!
Solid Costner film although in need of a little editing, it remains enjoyable. Costner and a few others are freegrazers, minding their own business until a local landowner and those under his influence take offence, with dramatic consequences.
Costner's character remains quite mysterious throughout the film, by then I was quite mystified to his past. A little more detail here would have been welcome.