Thomas McGuane fans are in for a treat with this typically off-the-wall tale of obsessives, oddballs and psychos, set in the New West. Reluctant to marry voracious Maureen (Kirkland) and keen to settle down with his folks in Dead Rock, Montana, Monte (Carradine) suddenly abandons partner-in-crime Kenny (Waits), a mass-murderer and would-be executive with whom he has smuggled a stallion, its gut full of emeralds, over the Mexican border. The first half, with Maureen and Kenny joining up to hunt down Monte, plays deliciously anarchic variations on road movie clichés; while the second (Sheriff Rip Torn gets suspicious of the three strangers in town) effectively parodies the small town Western. As written by McGuane and Jim Harrison, characters, situations and dialogue are colourfully eccentric and strangely plausible: the madness and mayhem are mere matters of detail, while the overview of contemporary outlaw life is surprisingly cogent. That the film is less messy than earlier McGuane adaptations is due partly to the uniformly engaging OTT acting, partly to Dornhelm's firm but light control of the proceedings. Utterly crazed, utterly charming.
Cast and crew
Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane