The Ballad of Lefty Brown

Written and directed by Jared Moshe, this classical western borrows from John Ford both emotionally (with early scenes of Peter Fonda and Kathy Baker as a joshing old married couple) and thematically (Fonda’s character, a rancher elected to the U.S. Senate as Montana enters the union in 1889, straddles the old west and the new). Bill Pullman hobbles around as the title character, a rascally Walter Brennan type who knows the senator-elect from way back and seeks old-fashioned justice after the man is killed by a rustler’s bullet. Though recycled, the story is well plotted and paced, and the old hands in the cast elevate the familiar material; especially noteworthy are Baker as the widowed wife, a defender of civility tough enough to kill a rattler with her parasol, and Tommy Flanagan as another of the men’s old partners, who craves drink ever since his wife was abducted by Blackfoot Indians.