Kevin Costner stars in and directs this alternately good, bad, ugly and handsome revenge saga. The film is littered with clunky dialogue and clichés but is still mostly embraceable, as themes about freedom, pulling one’s own weight, honesty, loyalty, grudges, justice, redemption, earning respect, and attitudes about God are spread rather evenly throughout 135 minutes of Old West myth-making. The story begins in 1882 with eye-popping vistas, as four cowpokes (Robert Duvall, Costner, Abraham Benrubi and Diego Luna) free-graze a beef herd in lush green expanses (shot on location in Alberta, Canada). All are escaping troubled pasts, and a run-in with a local rancher (Michael Gambon) sets the stage for countryside skirmishes and an eventual suspenseful 20-minute showdown in town that has the same remarkable splash of detail, grit and elegance that made Dances with Wolves
such a success.