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They do what they do
on October 11, 2008
Virgil Cole (Harris) and Everett Hitch (Mortensen) are a pair of traveling lawmen for hire. When they arrive at the town of Appaloosa, the town fathers are more than willing to pay the price and accept that Cole IS the law. They're under the thumb of rich rancher, Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) who shot their former sheriff in cold blood.
They get a break in the case when a young former hand of Bragg's agrees to testify. That happens about the time when the widow, Allie French (Renee Zellweger) comes in on the train.
Allie complicates matters a lot. As Hitch so eloquently puts it, "she wants to be with the herd stallion and there can only be one of those at a time." Cole, who claims to not have feelings, actually does care for French. She's not like any woman he's ever been with, she's clean, she's got good manners, etc.
"Appaloosa" has all the elements of a great Western, a little romance, some realistic gun play, excellent characterization, great scenery (principal film site Austin, Texas) and the typical western sense of humor. For example, when a gun battle gets both men injured, Hitch says, "That was quick." Cole's response, "Yeah, everybody could shoot."
Clearly, Harris and Mortensen had a lot of fun making this film. These two are friends in real life and this project was a labor of love for Harris who said in an interview that he's a fan of the author of "Appaloosa," Robert Parker. He usually reads the detective novels, but picked up the Western because he liked the cover and that's how the movie came to be.
If you enjoyed "Pale Rider" and "Unforgiven," this is a film you'll probably want to see. The "R" rating is for a little language, small nudity, and violence, but both my husband and I have seen a lot worse on broadcast television.
Rebecca Kyle, October 2008