Ride Lonesome (1959): Boetticher’s Best Western? Starring Randolph Scott

Arguably one of underestimated director Budd Boetticher’s best films, Ride Lonesome is a lavishly shot CinemaScope Western, starring Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, and James Coburn in his debut.

The film is one of Boetticher’s so-called “Ranown cycle” of westerns, made with Randolph Scott, executive producer Harry Joe Brown and screenwriter Burt Kennedy, beginning with Seven Men from Now.

Scott plays bounty hunter Ben Brigade, who finds killer Billy John hiding in along a ridge, planning to take him to Santa Cruz, where he is wanted for murder.

When Charlie, one of Billy’s gang, fires at Brigade, Brigade warns that he will kill Billy unless Charlie desists. Billy then instructs Charlie to notify his brother Frank (Lee Van Cleef), a notorious outlaw, that he has been apprehended by Brigade. After Charlie and the rest of the gang ride off, Brigade takes Billy prisoner and heads for Santa Cruz.