Boss Spearman (Duvall) and Charley Waite (Costner) are so-called free-grazers, cattle-drivers that let their animals graze on the prairies of the West. When they, together with their two crew members Mose and Button, pass the little town of Harmonville, they plan to get some supplies and send off Mose to get them. When Mose doesn’t return, Charley and Boss head to town to find out what’s happened. Once there, they hear Mose has gotten into a fight and has been put in jail. When they go to get Mose back, the sheriff makes it very clear that freegrazers aren’t welcomed in town and that they should get going asap. When they return to their camp, Button tells them a couple of masked men have been watching the cattle. Boss realises these men want to disperse the cattle and decides to act before something bad happens.
One night, Charley and Boss head off to the camp of the masked riders with the intent to scare them. This succeeds very well, but when on their return they find Mose dead and Button heavily injured. After putting Button in the caring hands of Sue Barlow, the sister of the local doctor, Boss Spearman and Charley Waite head into town for a showdown…
Sound and Vision:
As we’re used from Universal, we get decent image quality. The amount of detail is very high, the contrast is good and I didn’t see any compression errors or edge enhancement.
A Western doesn’t really lend itself for lots of special effects but Open Range does put the surround speakers to good use and it gives the movie a lot of atmosphere. The dialogues are clear, understandable and well-positioned at the center speaker while the subwoofer nicely supports everything with the necessary bass.
The extras start off with the usual Director’s commentary after which we can check out the “Making Of” which is rather standard. Last up are a behind-the-scenes and theatrical trailer.
Open Range is a classic western in the means that it tells a “revenge” story where a couple of people have to stand up for their beliefs and face a force they shouldn’t be able to beat. In many ways it has links to Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” but when the end is near, Costner probably couldn’t resist the Hollywood dogma that you need a happy ending and that’s where Unforgiven comes out the winner as being the best western of the past decade. Universal has done a good job with this dvd. Technically there’s nothing to complain about the image & sound and although rather standard, the extras are a nice addition