Rudolph Wurlitzer, screenwriter of Two-Lane Blacktop and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid as well as the author of cult ’60s novel Nog, has crafted a western that has the bleak winteriness of Jeremiah Johnson, the explosive violence of The Wild Bunch and the earthy poetry of Blood Meridian.

Set during the Gold Rush as the days of wild frontier mountain men give way to civilization, it finds Zebulon, a cursed fur trapper, drifting between life and death. In love and on the run from a ubiquitous posse, his story unfolds in a series of volatile, surreal episodes fitting of Acid Westerns such as El Topo.

It’s an allegory for the modern day, for an American Dream suffocated by greed and a country left directionless. Yonder has the mark of a classic, feeling as if it has been there all along, somewhere between McCabe and Mrs. Miller and High Plains Drifter, and yet feeling all at once fresh and original.

Grade: A

The Drop Edge of Yonder is currently available.