I shouldn't have done it, should I? I shouldn't have accepted my older brother's offer for help as soon as he strolled on into town.
Yet like a sap I said to myself, 'Tom Cloud (Robert Sterling)', for that is my name 'Go on. Allow James (Robert Preston) to track down those cattle poachers who've stolen your herd. I know he's an outlaw. There's no doubting that. But you never know. He maybe able to aide you and your apprentice, Jeff (John Drew Barrymore), with your fledgling farm?'.
And he did you know. Sure he did. Kicking the bad guy's into touch with his devilish ways. Still, how in hell was I supposed to know that James would also annoy a rival farmer, called John Gall (John Litel), by stirring up his live stock? Furthermore, how was I supposed to know that he'd irritate Earl Boyce (Jack Elam) by hitting on his wife, Kathleen (Cathy Downs), too?
I mean, I'm not a clairvoyant. I am a man of simple ways. With a ranch to attend to and an apprentice to teach as best I can.
Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires tumbles with the tumbleweeds when a bad brother goes from bad to worst. As people get killed - horses get thrilled - some poachers take a whipping - and as the sun comes up a brother takes a right good bloody kicking. Yeeiiii-hawwww!!!
[ Don't Ask ]
Now I'd say that at the heart of 'The Sundowners' is a very good story wanting to break free. Hey. Don't take me wrong. This film is a great film if you're a fan of this type of rustic western production. Yet, in the same breath, if you take the overall narrative out of the equation, the rest of it seems very dated and lackluster to say the least.
You see, on a conceptual level, this flick is about a brother reluctantly accepting some help from his older brother, resulting in a myriad of misfortune and misunderstanding by a plethora of nondescript bad-guys. Now from my point of view, if these villainous protagonists were more cleanly defined within the central plot, I'd say that this piece would have been easier to follow and more exciting than what it was.
Again. No disrespect given to this film. As it is a very good film. Nonetheless, more in this case would defiantly mean more. More character. More drama. More defined. And more... errr... more.
All in all I'd say that 'The Sundowners' is one of those films' that sure deserves an updated remake. The story was good. The actors showed promise. And at the end of the day it was only let down by some unfocused direction and a dated style.
THE RATING: B-