One can never stop learning to appreciate another facet or scene or line of dialogue in Sam Peckinpah’s classic 1969 western.
“We’re not gonna get rid of anybody! We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be! When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal, you’re finished! *We’re* finished! All of us!”
“Give ’em hell Pike!”
“Now you listen to me, Lyle – You get up off your ass and help once in a while, I wouldn’a got caught near s’easy.”
“They”? Why, they is the plain and fancy they, that’s who “they” is! Caught you, didn’t they? Tied a tin can to your tail. Led you in and waltzed you out again. Oh my, what a bunch! Big tough ones, hunh? Here you are with a handful of holes, a thumb up your ass, and a big grin to pass the time of day with. They? Who the hell is “they?”
“Any insult to my family while we are here and I will kill you!”
“Well, how’d you like to kiss my sister’s black cat’s ass?”
“If they move, kill ’em!”
Yep. I saw this first as a very chopped up TV cut and later when it got a restoration and re-release and it’s probably the best western on a few fronts for me. I know some dislike the violence and rawness, but it feels right thanks to that. It’s also really damn funny (that “They” quote cracks me up every time).and poignant. The ending is inevitable, but the coda afterward is just as impactful because no lessons were learned from the carnage and we seem to have a new Bunch of old men who will likely go out in a similar blaze of glory because they can’t stop themselves from wanting to live the Wild life.
My first viewing was a late night viewing probably cut to shreds. Just remember seeing pics of the bloody battle in a western hardcover book down at the library so of course I just had to see it growing up. VHS was a godsend in those early years even if we did have to rent the machine for the weekend.