A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous. This 1962 western flaunts its artificiality, both in its use of studio interiors and in the casting of an aging James Stewart as a young, idealistic lawyer who comes to the frontier. For some, the stylization is a crippling flaw, but I find it sublime: the film takes place, through elegant flashbacks, in a past that is remembered more than lived; essences are projected over particulars. With John Wayne, his tragic qualities movingly unveiled; Lee Marvin; Woody Strode; Vera Miles; and key members of the Ford stock company.