Comes a Horseman

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"She was as strong as the land for which she fought. And as vulnerable."
  • PG
  • 1978
  • 1 hr 58 min
  • 6.3  (3,134)
  • 41

Comes a Horseman is a 1978 American Western drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula, starring James Caan, Jane Fonda, and Jason Robards. Set in Montana in the years following World War II, the film tells the story of a fiercely independent woman named Ella Connors (Fonda) who is fighting to keep her family's ranch in the face of mounting pressure from a neighboring rancher, J.W. Ewing (Robards). When Connors hires an aging cowboy named Frank "Buck" Athearn (Caan) to help her run the ranch, she finds herself drawn to him despite his troubled past.

At the heart of Comes a Horseman is the conflict between Connors and Ewing, two very different people with very different values. On one hand, Connors is a woman who is not afraid to take on anyone who threatens her land or her livelihood. She is fiercely independent and determined to succeed on her own terms, even in a world where men hold all the power. On the other hand, Ewing represents everything that Ella hates about the modern world. He is a wealthy and powerful man who is used to getting his way, no matter who he has to step on to do it.

Into this tense situation comes Buck Athearn, a man with a mysterious past who becomes Ella's ally in the fight against Ewing. Buck is a rugged individualist who has lived his whole life on the range, and he sees Connors' determination as a reflection of his own values. Despite their initial conflicts, Buck and Ella develop a deep respect for each other, and soon find themselves falling in love.

The relationship between Ella and Buck is a central theme of Comes a Horseman, as it explores the tensions between rugged individualism and the desire for companionship and connection. As Buck and Ella fight side by side against Ewing, they also must navigate their own complicated emotions, and decide whether love is worth the risks that it entails.

Director Alan J. Pakula is known for his intense character studies, and Comes a Horseman is no exception. The film's three main characters are complex and nuanced, with each actor delivering a powerful and compelling performance. Jane Fonda is a standout as Ella Connors, portraying her as a woman who is both fierce and vulnerable, a fighter who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect what is hers.

James Caan is also impressive as Buck Athearn, bringing a quiet strength and depth to the role that makes him a perfect foil for Fonda's fiery character. Finally, Jason Robards is suitably menacing as J.W. Ewing, the wealthy rancher who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

In addition to its strong performances, Comes a Horseman is also notable for its stunning cinematography. The film was shot on location in Montana, and the sweeping vistas and rugged landscapes of the West are captured in all their glory. The score, composed by Michael Small, is also excellent, using a mix of Western-style instrumentation and more traditional orchestral elements to great effect.

Ultimately, Comes a Horseman is a compelling and emotionally charged Western drama that explores the themes of love, independence, and the struggle for identity in a changing world. With its strong performances and beautiful cinematography, it is a film that is sure to captivate and entertain audiences for generations to come.

Comes a Horseman is a 1978 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 41.

Comes a Horseman
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 58 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (3,134)
  • Metascore