Logan is first and foremost another chapter in the X-Men comic book series of popcorn movies, but it is also one of the best Western films I've seen made in recent years. Unlike any of its predecessors, it has a quiet elegance about it. While there is still plenty of gripping action, it is filmed with great care and the cinematography is gorgeous. Much like a traditional Western, the film is also pretty gory (it contains the most violent sequences of any X-Men film to date).
An instant best-seller when published in 1968, True Grit has also been made into film. Twice. These facts alone should recommend it, and I am here to back it up with a solid vote for a place on your nightstand.
A shout out to a nearly forgotten genre, the Western! In prep for an upcoming book club I picked up Louis L'Amour's Mustang Man, a simple story about a lone cowboy making his way in the West who gets wrapped up in a chase for gold. This is a fast-moving story with strong characters who live by a simple code.
It is 1865 and the country is going through many changes. The Civil War is over. The Emancipation Proclamation has given freedom to millions of slaves. Conflicts continue between the Native Americans and settlers. In the midst of all this change, the Union Pacific is pushing westward to complete the first transcontinental railroad.
Nat Swanson didn't expect his flight from Texas to California to be easy, not with the friends of the man he recently killed (in self-defense) on his trail. He certainly wasn't expecting, in the middle of the desert, to find three nuns and seven orphans holed up and surrounded by Apaches (who have already brutally murdered a nun), and then to be regarded as their savior.
Nat struggles between his conscience and his desire to escape alone, all the while devising a daring plan to get them all to safety.