Starring: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sam Bottoms, Bill McKinney, John Vernon, and Sondra Locke
Director: Clint Eastwood
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars
When his family is killed by renegade Union troops, simple farmer Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) signs up with a band of Confederate irregulars. When the Civil War ends, he refuses to surrender and ends up pursued the leader of the riders who killed his family (McKinney).
"The Outlaw Josey Wales" is one of those gritty 1970s westerns where the west is very wild and extremely savage and honorable (or even decent) people are virtually unheard of. However, in the character of Josey Wales, we have one of cinema's great reluctant heroes, a man whose compassion for his fellow human beings survived the destruction of everything he loved, war, and his own death wish.
Although some of the gunslinging scenes are a bit redundant, Josey's trek west after the end of the Civil War and the adventures he has encounters he has along the way (especially the way he keeps collecting company to ride along with him, whether he really wants to or not) will keep the viewers engaged.
The characters in the film are all interesting and engaging, especially Josey, who on the surface might seem like Eastwood's classic Sergio Leone hero revisited but who is actually so much more, and you'll not notice that this film is well over two hours long until it's over.