Rated 4.0

In 1882 New Mexico Territory, two itinerant lawmen—played by Ed Harris (who also directed) and Viggo Mortensen—sign up to pry a frontier town out from under the thumb of an unscrupulous rancher (Jeremy Irons). The script by Harris and Robert Knott (from Robert B. Parker’s novel) has classic elements of the Western (with echoes of Shane, Lonesome Dove, High Noon and more) and mixes them with a loose-limbed, ambling narrative that takes some unexpected turns, including an arbitrary ending that somehow fits the story nicely. Stars Harris and Mortensen radiate a rugged integrity, and director Harris (strongly aided by Dean Semler’s cinematography) shows a firm-handed feel for the romance of dusty, sun-drenched wide-open spaces. Renée Zellweger adds spice as a spunky frontier woman of uncertain morals.