“The Naked Spur” (1953)
This is the second Joss-recommended Western I wondered about in the first half and was awed by in the second. Noir Western. All human relationships start out corrupted, and then comes the pain.
The pain plays on Jimmy Stewart’s face, and it is virtuoso. Despite the noirish start and the uncompromising rest of the movie, the pain doesn’t just turn things worse. It becomes the basis for something better.
Small cast, compact plot, epic story.
Two non-spoiler nuggets: When Stewart has a fever dream in which he cries out for “Mary,” it’s hard not to think of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and yet that brings you deeper into his character in this movie. Also: Bad Guys as Truth Tellers — quite Whedonesque.