The Coen brothers are known for their dark, quirky, and avant-garde films. They brought their same unique flair to their western, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” The film was also unique because the plot involved six different storylines, with the main protagonist (Buster Scruggs, played by Tim Blake Nelson) narrating some of the opening stories.
The other short stories in the film gave viewers bite-sized, narrative dramas of different characters.
Giant (George Stevens, 1956)
"Giant" was a star-studded Western featuring some of Hollywood’s most beautiful faces: James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson. Family legacies, old money, generational controversy, and ranching, Giant was a sweeping, epic drama that was more than just a Western.
The story follows Jordan “Bick” Benedict Jr. (Hudson) and Leslie Benedict (Taylor) as they maintain their Texan family wealth and legacy. What makes Giant more unique is that it follows the character’s storylines throughout their lives and even into the next generation of Benedicts.
Deadwood: The Movie (Daniel Minahan, 2019)
The TV series "Deadwood" first aired in 2004 and had 3 seasons, the last of which aired in 2006. The TV show plot made it onto the silver screen in 2019 with a full-length movie. The film opens with South Dakota being declared an official state in 1899 and, while the residents are celebrating, the drama is brewing.
Senator George Hearst (Gerald McRaney) challenges the property claim held by Charlie Utter (Dayton Callie), which he declines. The refusal then ignites a major feud between Hearst and the other residents of Deadwood.
Sweetgrass (Llisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2009)
The documentary "Sweetgrass" took viewers deep inside the daily lives of shepherds in Montana as they take care of their flocks. It may sound like a simple task, but the herders were responsible for caring for the helpless animals as they took them through treacherous terrain where predators waited for an easy meal.
They had been carrying on the tradition since the 1800s, guiding the flock on horseback and with the help of herding dogs.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (Asa Earl Carter, 1976)
Along with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood was another big star in the Western genre. In the film "The Outlaw Josey Wales," Eastwood played the role of a farmer who, after his family is killed by Union soldiers, decides to become a Confederate soldier.
The film became a character study of a man who exits ordinary life, transforming into an outlaw, on the run from bounty hunters, the Comanche Indians, and even those close to him, all in the name of vengeance.