Tom Horn by William Wiard on TCM CanalSat)
My rating: 4 out of 10 stars
A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for the murder of a boy when he carries out his job too well. Tom Horn finds that the simple skills he knows are of no help in dealing with the ambitions of ranchers and corrupt officials as progress marches over him and the old west.
This is another one of those movies that I have vague memories of having seen when I was a kid. I probably did since my father always watched any western that was shown on TV. My vague memories also include not being too thrilled about this movie at the time and this is maybe not so surprising. After all this movie is quite sad and contains several plot elements that I really dislike: our hero is downright stupid, he is betrayed, journalist falsifies reality, lawyer with political ambitions gets hero sentenced, hero dies. All of it certainly not really my cup of tea.
Now I could appreciate a movie like that if it was really well done but I do not think it was. The acting is pretty much standard Hollywood fare. That is, nothing to write home about. Sometimes the scenery in these Western movies can be really breathtaking but not really in this movie. The fights and shootouts are generally quite silly and not very well done. The story just plows on in a simple linear fashion towards the inevitable sad ending.
What bugs me the most, apart from the crooked journalists and lawyers of course, are the fact that Tom Horn is downright stupid. He walks around in some country boy fog with a silly look on his face for most of the movie. He doesn’t understand the fix he is in and he certainly do not cooperate in any way to get out of it. When he finally manages to escape jail, for a very short period of time, he barely walks out of town before he drops the jacket he stole, displaying a white shirt so that he can be spotted as easily as possible, and proceeds to run straight out onto the grassland without a hiding place in sight. That was just so stupid!
No, this movie is definitely not my cup of tea.