The Hired Hand

  • 1971
  • Movie
  • GP
  • Western

Peter Fonda's first directorial effort was this scattered, pretentious Western that tried to offer a realistic depiction of the Old West. The story is about Fonda, who deserted his wife, Bloom, to drift with Oates. After seven years of drifting, Pratt, a fellow wanderer and friend of the duo, is murdered by Darden's men. Fonda and Oates exact revenge on...read more

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Peter Fonda's first directorial effort was this scattered, pretentious Western that tried to offer a realistic depiction of the Old West.

The story is about Fonda, who deserted his wife, Bloom, to drift with Oates. After seven years of drifting, Pratt, a fellow wanderer and friend of the duo, is murdered by Darden's men. Fonda and Oates exact revenge on the killers and Fonda decides to go back to his wife, but she is only willing to

accept him as a hired hand. Their romance is rekindled, but Fonda is soon off to rescue Oates, who has been captured by the evil Darden. Fonda is killed during the rescue, but Oates goes back to Bloom and takes Fonda's place.

Zsigmond's superb photography conveys much of the lyrical quality of the story but the screenplay by Sharp (NIGHT MOVES) falls short by comparison. Fonda's lack of expertise cannot compensate directorially; the cliches of the genre require a more artful hand, and his dual commitments keep him from

developing a sympathetic hero that justifies audience focus.

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  • Released: 1971
  • Rating: GP
  • Review: Peter Fonda's first directorial effort was this scattered, pretentious Western that tried to offer a realistic depiction of the Old West. The story is about Fonda, who deserted his wife, Bloom, to drift with Oates. After seven years of drifting, Pratt, a… (more)

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