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Time Out saysStevens' classic Western, with its inflated reputation, now looks as if it were self-consciously intended as a landmark film right from the start. Certainly its story, of a lone, laconic stranger riding out of the desert to lend aid to a pioneer farming family in their battle against a gang of dark-hearted villains, has been much imitated since (notably in Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider), while its deliberately epic landscape photography is now a sine qua non of the genre. But the slow pace and persistent solemnity reduce tension, prefiguring the portentous nature of Stevens' later work. That said, the cast is splendid, and both the emotional tensions between Ladd and Arthur, and the final confrontation with Palance, are well handled.