From the great William Wyler and producing partner Samuel Goldwyn, who made Wuthering Heights together the previous year, comes this classic western. Gary Cooper plays a drifter accused of stealing a horse by the infamous, noose-happy Judge Roy Bean, who rules his territory with an iron fist and a bottle of whisky.

Walter Brennan steals the show as the multi-dimensional Bean: drunk, villainous and yet curiously pining after stage actress Lily Langtry. The role nabbed Brennan his third Oscar.

There’s nothing revolutionary here. It’s a typical frontier tale of feuds, homesteaders, cattle rustlers and shootouts; but Brennan’s lively performance has stood the test of time.

Grade: B+

The Westerner is currently available.