The ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

Last night I saw a Sam Peckinpah movie about a man called Cable Hogue.

He was left in the desert to die, after being robbed of everything he had. He wandered around aimlessly in thirst, cursing the Lord for not providing him water. Until, he accidentally found some. He finds it smack in the middle between two towns and near the route of the postal coach. He could make a fine buck or two out of selling the water to the travellers and their horses… But this isn’t easy. Without a claim to the land, his fortune (the water) could easily be taken from him. Advised by a somewhat dubious preacher man, Reverent Joshua Douglas Stone, he goes to the nearby town to get a 2 acres claim and a loan to set himself up. It’s in that town that he meets the local lady of entertainment called Hildy… whom he immediately falls for…

The main cast is Jason Robards, Stella Stevens and David Warner.

It’s a movie with, to me, fun dialogue (how he curses the Lord in the beginning for a start), silly characters (the Reverent has is hypnotically drawn to fragile young women like Claudia whom he fancies in the movie) and romance. But the romance is well masked by the macho talk from the Westerny cowboy-y men and the humour. But it is undeniably a romance at heart. Though the end is a surprise, and I am not going to unfold that just yet.

I understand from reading up a bit on this, that this movie followed a very violent Western movie of Pekinpah called The Wild Bunch – and that The ballad of Cable Hogue was critisized for it. Well, for not being a typical Western movie… true in some way. But I had fun watching it. You can’t “not like” Cable. He is rough round the edges, but ever so likeable.

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