While the elites like to promote High Noon (1952), directed by Stanley Kramer, as a great Western, I disagree. This movie has early political correctness, adultery, premarital sex and interracialism, and it is a wonder that it got through at the time, but, with reflection, maybe it is not really a wonder.
Instead, I like The Searchers (1956), with John Wayne, directed by John Ford. This movie oozes testosterone, and is John Wayne at his macho finest, playing Ethan Edwards, who eats Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” for diner, and spits out the bones into the desert sands.
If you have not seen it, I will offer no spoilers plot wise, but there are some instances a deep dark sardonic humour. In one scene Mose Harper, played by Hank Worden, a crazy old guy, is with John Wayne’s ranger party that has been trapped by the Injuns. He offers a prayer: “Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly grateful.” Then comes a truly massive firefight, which, most miraculously survive. Who says prayer does not work!
A good very recent review of the movie is at:
Clayton: Well, the prodigal brother. When d’you get back? I ain’t seen you since the surrender. Come to think of it, I didn’t see you at the surrender.
Ethan: Don’t believe in surrenders. No, I still got my sabre, Reverend. Didn’t turn it in to no ploughshare either.