When a snowy mountain is pillaged over a land ownership battle during the early Gold Rush, all notions of money and land play into the grand struggle for power in America.
This Clint Eastwood blockbuster, while special in its own right, somewhat resembles “The Unforgiven” and could even be considered as a trial run.
Run of the Arrow (Samuel Fuller, 1957)
Run of the Arrow follows Private O’Meara, a Confederate soldier who ends up living with a Native American tribe. One could even credit this film for inspiring Kevin Costner's "Dances with Wolves." Unfortunately, in true 1950's fashion, the Native American characters are all played by clearly Caucasian actors.
Not entirely helpful in the authenticity department. Still, the film manages to depict the deductive nature of bigotry in its own Hollywood way.
Vera Cruz (Robert Aldrich, 1954)
This film certainly offers a punch. A countess and her gold need to be transported to Vera Cruz, a port city in the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, various alliances are created as much as they are double-crossed. It's a game of wits executed perfectly by the brilliant Robert Aldrich.
It's also great to see the genre-expanding into new landscapes.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Sam Peckinpah, 1970)
"The Ballad of Cable Hogue" production caused quite a stir at the time. It went over the budget by three-million dollars and continued 19 days after schedule. That being said, the film that was shot in the desert landscapes of Nevada ended up being a masterful commentary on American despair.
Sadly due to production issues, Holywood lost interest in Peckinpah after this film. But we sure didn't!
Bad Company (Robert Benton, 1972)
What starts out as an odyssey to the "promised land" of American riches evolves into something far more dark and even bizarre. Jake (Jeff Bridges) and his buddy have stripped of their dreams and even dignity thanks to a cruel gang of roaming bandits.
It's a dog eat dog world out there.