Among the best American westerns ever made are those done quickly and inexpensively by director Budd Boetticher and star Randolph Scott in the mid-to-late 1950s. These are among the most celebrated in film history and deservedly so. My favorite is 7 Men From Now because of the ironic relatsionhip between Scott and Lee Marvin. John Wayne owned some of the scripts and was scheduled to star in them but was too busy with his A movies to do Bs so he handed them off to Scott and Boetticher. There aren't any other westerns quite like them. Here's the list written by somebody for a festival:
7 MEN FROM NOW, 1956, Batjac Prod., 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. The first of the Randolph Scott Westerns (and Budd’s personal favorite of all his movies), the legendary 7 MEN FROM NOW was long thought to be a lost film – until it was recently restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, with the cooperation of producer John Wayne’s son, Michael. And what a rediscovery it is: Scott stars as a tight-lipped sheriff relentlessly hunting the men who killed his wife, while fending off distractions from lovely Gail Russell and loquacious bandido Lee Marvin.
THE TALL T, 1957, Columbia, 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Tense, sexually ambiguous story of rancher Randolph Scott kidnapped by killer Richard Boone (in a career-making performance) and his gun-happy henchmen. Brilliantly scripted by Burt Kennedy (based on an Elmore Leonard story), THE TALL T switches effortlessly from folksy humor to tragic violence, leaving the viewer literally breathless. "In every one of the Scott pictures, I felt I could have traded Randy’s part with the villain’s." – Budd Boetticher. With Henry Silva, Maureen O’Sullivan.
DECISION AT SUNDOWN, 1957, Columbia, 77 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. The most atypical of the Ranown Westerns, the morally complex DECISION finds Randolph Scott hunting for the man responsible for his wife’s suicide, but realizing he himself may be at fault. Co-starring Karen Steele, Noah Beery.
BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, 1958, Columbia, 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Scott stars as a former mercenary, carrying $2,000 in blood money, trapped in a border town by a corrupt family. Everyone is willing to trade a dead man’s honor for hard cash in this almost comically remorseless Western. With Craig Stevens, L.Q. Jones.
RIDE LONESOME, 1959, Columbia, 73 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Complex, poetic revenge tragedy starring Randolph Scott as a sheriff-turned bounty hunter, using a young desperado to flush out his murderous older brother. Scott’s final act of absolution at the hanging tree ranks with John Wayne’s last moments in THE SEARCHERS. With Pernell Roberts, James Coburn.
COMANCHE STATION, 1960, Columbia, 74 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. In the last of the Ranown cycle, Scott buys a white woman back from the Indians, hoping to find his wife. Instead, he finds himself locked in a lethal struggle with a bounty hunter (Claude Akins) to return the woman to her husband for a large reward.