Skip to content

Monte Walsh (2003)

by on 2013/06/21

Monte Walsh (2003)

“A lot of miles, Monte.”
“Some pretty good ones too.”

* * * * *

Thinking about Monte Walsh has had me thinking about other things, especially my age. Spending my free time with Gru means being surrounded by kids a whole lot. Mostly Miss Tree and her various friends. I’ve always assumed they all think I’m very old.

And then I am shocked to be carded – as I was a few weeks back – for buying things like common video games. In this particular case, I responded by holding up Crysis 3 and demanded of the cashier, “How old do you have to be to buy an M (Mature) rated game?”

“Seventeen,” he said.


Time is a funny thing, so relative. In Monte Walsh, the title character is clearly past middle-age, but there is a moment, nearly six minutes in, where he’s young again for a bit, connecting with some local kids in a town.

It’s a good indication of the piece overall, an easy-going, good-natured episode. Directed by Simon Wincer, and starring Tom Selleck as Monte, it reunites much of the cast and crew of Crossfire Trail, but adds some new faces: Keith Carradine, William Devane, John Michael Higgins, Isabella Rossellini, and Wallace Shawn.

Set around 1892 Wyoming – though shot in Alberta, Canada – it’s a portrait of an aging man, resisting changing times. He struggles with issues still relevant today, including relationships, cultural clashes, competition, betrayal, post-traumatic stress, unemployment, desperation, and the temptations in making money. He refuses to change or compromise, but is no cantankerous crotchet. He’s often alone with his integrity, but camaraderie saves him on occasion.

A long stretch is covered, jumping forward between highlights, a series of loosely-connected events, frequently slices of life. It takes the time to take its time, you might say. Lyric, idyllic, contemplative, resigned, and sometimes rascally, yet with an easy tone more gentle and comedic than dramatic. It’s got the lowest body-count I recall offhand in a western, and is notable as a cowboy story which actually features cowboys.

Gru does not agree with me, she found it too uneven and, in mid-screening, made jokes about “zoomers and their sex lives”.

For my part I laughed, though the subjects were sad, not for jokes made, but for humanity revealed. Monte Walsh has things to say, and says them best by saying very little, choosing its moments, and hitting its marks. It’s a nice surprise, so hopeful in an often hopeless genre.

* * * * *

Rated PG (Canada) / Not Rated (United States)

116 minutes

  1. Grushenka Geusebach permalink

    Thanks a lot. You made me look like a jerk in front of Tom Selleck.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A Goth’s Month in Review: June 2013 | Geek vs Goth
  2. A Geek’s Month in Review: June 2013 | Geek vs Goth
  3. R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015) | Geek vs Goth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: