The Hired Hand (1971)
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Peter Fonda directed and stars in this moody, realistic western drama, concerning a man who tries to return to a family he has abandoned years ago and the loyalty to a friend that compels him to leave once again. Fonda plays Harry Collings, who had abandoned his wife Hannah (Verna Bloom) years ago to travel the trail with his friend Arch Harris (Warren Oates). When their mutual friend, Dan Griffin (Robert Pratt) is killed by a gang of bushwhackers, led by a man named McVey (Severn Darden), Harry and Arch exact retribution on his killers. But after that, Harry desires to return home. He leaves Arch on the trail and comes back to Hannah. Hannah is reluctant to accept him back on her farm but permits him to stay on as a hired hand, and he sleeps in the barn. Over time, Hannah once again warms up to Harry, and their love is rekindled. Harry now moves back into the home, and Harry and Hannah form a family as before. But then Harry gets word that McVey has captured his old pal Arch and is torturing him to death. His duty to his friend weighing heavily upon him, he leaves his wife to go back on the trail to save his friend. … More
as Arch Harris
as Hannah Collings
as Dan Griffen
as Mexican Woman
as Mrs. Sorenson
as Janey Collings
as Harry ...
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Critic Reviews for The Hired Hand
If Dennis Hopper dismantles revisionist-Western ennui in The Last Movie, Fonda embellishes it with poetic muddiness
Bloom is excellent as the abandoned wife who aserts her independence even when she's so vulnerable.
...perhaps the best of that cycle of realistic, existential Westerners produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s
Now that it has been restored, people are beginning to realize it got a bum rap back in the day.
This groundbreaking 1971 western nimbly upsets most of our expectations about cowboy movies.
A work dear to Fonda's heart, he has often spoken of his wish for this film to be his epitaph. It's one that would do any director proud.
Audience Reviews for The Hired Hand
[font=Century Gothic][color=sienna] "The Hired Hand" is a 1971 western directed by Peter Fonda(his first, and perhaps only noticeable effort) about a man who after several years wandering aimlessly with his pal through the West, decides to return to the wife he left several years before. The movie is deliberately paced and occasionally artsy. It is worthwhile because of the spotlight on the relationships between the characters and for one notable speech given by Verna Bloom who plays the abandoned wife. And Warren Oates has another very good performance in this movie.[/color][/font]More
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