Randolph Scott’s Ben Brigade is a grittier, harder version of the likably steadfast character he’s known for. Although he usually plays someone with a mysterious past, the reveal at the end of Ride Lonesome that shows Brigade’s motivation has a lot more weight to it than usual. Scott is joined by an excellent group of multi-layered characters but both Pernell Roberts and James Coburn stand out as the morally-questionable anti-heroes I love to watch. Karen Steele is adequate in her role as the damsel in distress and only has one instance of screaming like a crazy person.
I nodded to a lot of things in Ride Lonesome in my newest novel. From the obvious group of miss-matched characters thrown together in a quest, to the dim-witted criminal being dragged along for the ride. Even the contorted hanging tree in Ride Lonesome made its way into the pages of THE GUNFIGHTER CINCINNATI. Ride Lonesome also has one of my favorite shots combined with one of my all-time favorite lines. As Ben Brigade and Pernell Roberts’ Sam Boone ride across a valley, a group of Indians are slowly revealed atop a ridge behind them. In the foreground, the two men are discussing Karen Steele. Boone says, “I guess she’s about the best overall good-lookin’ woman I’ve ever seen.” Just before Brigade acknowledges the riders, he replies, “She ain’t ugly.”
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Director: Budd Boetticher
Writer: Burt Kennedy
Stars: Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef