That would be Myrl Redding (John Cusack), a horse-breeder of limited means but a deeply entrenched sense of justice. His independence galls Henry Ballard (L.Q. Jones), the crusty land baron out to set his brand on most of the countryside. Ballard insults and cheats Redding several times over, and his men beat Redding's horse trainer and friend, an Indian (Rodney A. Grant). When Redding seeks redress from the law, its agents can't be bothered (the local magistrate is in Ballard's pocket). So Redding musters a vigilante army to enforce his own law.
Scratch this handsome but rigorously unromanticized Western--fully an hour passes without a shot being fired--and you find the classic Heinrich von Kleist book Michael Kohlhaas transposed to Wyoming Territory on the eve of statehood. The script--by the star-producer's dad, Dick Cusack--is sturdy and uncompromising, willing to engage the knotty ambiguities of embracing vigilantism even in a just cause. Badham's decision to treat the authorities (Scott Wilson, Jay O. Sanders, John Goodman) as period caricatures is regrettable. But John Cusack is solid as a figure of utterly matter-of-fact integrity. --Richard T. Jameson