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Western films, from silent to today

The West and the Ruthless (2016)

The West and the Ruthless (2016) DVD coverFrancisco Winchester (Paul Haapaniemi) is traveling West in a buggy with his pregnant wife, his black half-sister and a chest full of gold when the driver leads them into an ambush.

When Winchester comes to, he’s badly wounded on the outskirts of a town called Crow’s Landing. His wife and his half-sister have disappeared. So, of course, has the gold. He sets off in search of all three.

He finds the man who ambushed him in the town jail, with no sheriff around. His half-sister Mary finds her way to th town bordello run by the brothers Chester and Christopher Crow, where she feigns willingness to earn her keep in exchange for a hot bath and a warm place to sleep.

As for the pregnant and wounded Scarlet Winchester (Rebecca Gomberg)? She’s rescued by a former slave named Morgan Grant who’s willing to help because she reminds him of his own daughter, who’s still a slave somewhere.

Scarlet imagines her husband — some would call him more of a devil, she says — is dead. He isn’t. But he’s out for revenge.

Review:

The DVD cover hails this an “instant indie Western classic.” Well, not quite.

Look, it’s not easy to make a Western in 10 days on a shoestring budget, and in their first feature film, our directors present their story in a stylish fashion.

Problem is, there isn’t enough story here for more than a short film. There is lots of conversation, including characters that don’t seem nearly as traumatized by their situations as they would be in real life.

Take Scarlet as an example. Her husband is dead. She’s been shot in the shoulder. Her water just broke. One minute, she seems in horrible pain. The next she’s discussing race relations with Morgan as though none of that happened.

Ah, and that bullet wound. We see Scarlet being shot in the left shoulder. When she reaches the church with Morgan’s help and begins giving birth, the wound has suddenly moved to her right shoulder.

Now that’s classic. But not in a good way.

Paul Haapaniemi as Francisco Winchester in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Paul Haapaniemi as Francisco Winchester in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

ebecca Gomberg as Scarlet Winchester (with bullet wound in her left shoulder) in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

ebecca Gomberg as Scarlet Winchester (with bullet wound in her left shoulder) in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Rebecca Gomberg as Scarlet Winchester (with a bullet wound in her right shoulder) in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Rebecca Gomberg as Scarlet Winchester (with a bullet wound in her right shoulder) in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Directed by:
Lexie Findarle Trivundza
Nick Trivundza

Cast:
Danny Brown .. Mary LaClede
Dan Fowlks … Chester Crow
Paul Haapaniemi … Francisco Winchester
Alexander Harris … Grant Morgan
Rebecca Gomberg … Scarlet Winchester
Benedict Mazurek … Christopher Crow
Will Roberts … Emery Chaplin
Zoe Sloane … Jacqueline Chaplin
Matt Boone … Cole Henry
Katelyn Ann Clark … Sister Ana Maria
Austin Buchanan … Tom Baker

Runtime: 90 min.

Benedict Mazurek as Christopher Crow in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Benedict Mazurek as Christopher Crow in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Dan Fowlks as Chester Crow in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Dan Fowlks as Chester Crow in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Danny Brown as Mary LaClede in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Danny Brown as Mary LaClede in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Memorable lines:

Emery Chaplin: “I’ve been tortured before. You think that scares me. I’ve known men like you. Hell, I am men like you.”

Jacqueline Chaplin: “You seem nice. Nice people get hurt around me.”
Christopher Crow: “Well, you’re in luck. I ain’t all that nice.”

Grant Morgan, upon finding Chloe, her shoulder bleeding and clutching her bulging belly: “What happened? Are you shot? Are you giving birth?”

Scarlet Winchester: “We gotta get going. Baby’s coming. I don’t want to give birth out here among the rattlesnakes.”

Chester Crow, lying gunshot: “That was unexpected.”

Alexander Harris as Grant Morgan in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Alexander Harris as Grant Morgan in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Zoe Sloane as Jacaqueline Chaplin in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Zoe Sloane as Jacaqueline Chaplin in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Will Roberts as Emory Chaplin in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

Will Roberts as Emory Chaplin in The West and the Ruthless (2016)

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