One of the most evident signs of the shift in movie-goers' tastes over the years has been the decline of the Western. Once among the most popular of film genres, it now ranks near the bottom. If there's a benefit to this downturn, it's that modern Westerns rarely go into production unless they possess a complex or challenging quality. In many ways, Ed Harris' Appaloosa is one of the most traditional examples we have seen since the genre underwent a shift during the early 1990s with Oscar wins by Dances with Wolves and Unforgiven. It is not as compelling as three recent Westerns – The Proposition, Open Range, and 3:10 to Yuma - but there's enough quality material to be found bookended between the opening and closing credits to make this compulsory viewing for those who retain a fondness for what the Western can bring to the screen.
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