20. Shenandoah (1965)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (8,351)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (6,128 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (6 reviews)
> Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen
> Starring: James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett
“Shenandoah” resonates with strong antiwar and humanitarian themes. The plot unfolds during the Civil War, focusing on the Anderson family’s struggles to avoid the conflict until it hits home, forcing them into a desperate search for their youngest son, mistakenly taken as a prisoner of war.
19. Ride the High Country (1962)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (12,803)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (4,078 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (15 reviews)
> Directed by: Sam Peckinpah
> Starring: Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, Mariette Hartley
Featuring Randolph Scott’s final screen performance, this film revolves around ex-lawman Steve Judd who is hired to transport gold, and his companions’ plot to steal it. The film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1992.
18. The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (16,707)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 81% (10,170 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (13 reviews)
> Directed by: Henry Hathaway
> Starring: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer
Set in Texas, this film revolves around the four adult sons of ranch owner Katie Elder who reunite for their mother’s funeral. They battle hostility from the townsfolk and a villainous gunsmith, Hastings, who falsely claims the Elders’ ranch. Amidst violence and betrayal, they strive to restore their mother’s honor and reclaim their family’s possession.
17. The Rider (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (17,308)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (2,068 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (185 reviews)
> Directed by: Chloé Zhao
> Starring: Brady Jandreau, Mooney, Tim Jandreau
“This contemporary Western portrays the life of an injured former rodeo star struggling with poverty and health issues in South Dakota. The film, critically acclaimed for its raw storytelling and performances, features non-professional Lakota actors playing fictional versions of themselves.
16. Shane (1953)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (38,919)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 81% (15,575 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (36 reviews)
> Directed by: George Stevens
> Starring: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin
One of the great classic Westerns, “Shane” is about a skilled gunfighter who aids settlers against a ruthless cattle baron’s intimidation tactics. Notable for its award-winning cinematography and performances, the film is a significant contribution to the Western genre and is preserved in the National Film Registry.
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