Hawks' effortless Western gathers together a gunfighter, a drunken sheriff, a young hopeful, a couple of tough women, and sets them up in a jail, fighting for their lives against a cattle baron and his hired killers. Sounds familiar? In many ways the plot resembles Hawks' earlier Rio Bravo, and several of the themes are again present: the importance of group solidarity, self-respect, professionalism, and acceptance of others' faults. But the tone here is transformed by the emphasis on his two central heroes' infirmity: not only is Mitchum a drunk, but Wayne suffers badly from age and a gun wound. Seemingly a lazy, leisurely coast towards the final shootout, it is in fact an elegy on lost youth assuaged by friendship, moving from lush pastures to dusty township, from light to darkness. This is an old man's movie only in the sense that it deals with the problems of approaching the valley of death. In other words, it's a witty, exciting and deeply moving masterpiece.