The Bad GuysThe line between the hero and the villain and the hero is blurred in most of the movies. There is the feeling that they could easily change places with each other. They even share some of the same dialogue. In one movie they will have the hero say a line of dialogue that will then be said by the villain in the next movie. The villain usually has two or three followers but appears that he likes the hero better than he does his companions. The villain often needles the hero about his affection for the damsel in distress, who the hero has developed an attachment for. The hero will often will say things out loud that the audience is thinking. The villain often saves the hero's life and the hero often calls the villain by his first name before he reluctantly guns him down. The villain is usually brought down because of greed.
In an interview at parralex-view.com
"You’ve described the relationships between Randolph Scott and villains as a love story between two men."
Budd Boetticher: "Well it is. The man is the All-American sheriff. He does good and he’s a clean, loving guy and he’s a helluva fast draw, and he can punch and he can ride a horse and he can do all the things that the villain can do, but the villain thinks back and he says “Damn it, we live sixty miles apart and if I’d have lived next door to him we’d have been partners and here we are trying to kill each other, but I really admire that guy.” Never before in a motion picture western did you ever see the hero kill the villain and sit down on a rock because he wanted to throw up because he really hated to do it. And I think that’s a love affair."http://parallax-view.org/2008/11/02/budd-boetticher-and-the-ranown-films/
Seven Men from Now
In this movie Bill Masters, played by Lee Marvin, saves Ben Stride's life when he shoots down a man about to kill him. Like in most of the movies there is the triangle of the hero, the villain and the woman, Masters needles Stride about his relationship with the Annie. In the final scene Stride reluctantly guns down Masters who feels he has to go after the money. Everyone in Ranown has to follow the roles they have been given.
The Tall T
In this movie the villain is Usher, played by Richard Boone. He feels superior to his companions but really likes Pat Brennan. When usher's companion, Chink, wants to kill Brennan, Usher stops him. In the end Brennan can't shoot an escaping Usher because of the "code". But Usher, can't escape either. He must finish what they had begun. He charges back in and is gunned down by our hero.
Decision at Sundown
This movie is a little different from the others. Our villain, Tate Kimbrough, had an affair with our hero's (Bart Allison) wife while he was away in the war. When she later dies, Bart blames Tate. In this movie our usually lonesome hero has a partner, Sam, who tries to tell Bart that it really wasn't Tate's fault, his wife was just no good. Because our villain is really not that bad, and our hero is really not that good. In the end the villain escapes with his life when his girlfriend shoots and wounds him on the way to the show down and thereby saves his life.
Buchanan Rides AloneThis movie is a little different than the others in the series. It is more of a comedy than it is a drama. There are actually three bad guys, the Agry brothers. They are the greediest people who ever lived and they control Agrytown. There is the more traditional Ranown badman, Carbo, who is on the bad side but has a code of honor.
Ride LonesomeSam Boone, played by Pernell Roberts in the respectable bad guy in this one. Sam wants to go straight but he needs Sam's prisoner in order to do it. There is a real bad guy also in this movie, Frank, played by Lee van Cleef. After our hero guns Frank down, he lets Sam take his prisoner.
In this movie the villain, Ben Lane (played by Claude Akins), knows our hero, Jefferson Cody from their time in the military where Cody testified at Lane's court marshal. Lane is anxious to take the woman our hero rescued from the Comanches off his hands. There is a big reward for Nancy Lowe and Lane means to collect it. Like most of the other villains in the series, Lane flirts with Mrs. Lowe and is our hero's romantic rival.
In the end he tries to ambush Jefferson Cody but when that fails we have the confrontation. When Jefferson comes up behind him Lane says "If I spin and do you, I get the woman." Jefferson says "I wouldn't try it." Lane says "Got to. Come to far to turn back now." As typical in this series our hero appeals to the villain using his first name. "Don't do it Ben", he says before he cuts him down. Lane's last line sums up the motivation of the villains in this cycle : "It's a pure shame, ain't it? How a man'll push himself for money. Yes sir, pure."
There are two villains in Westbound. One is Clay Putnam, the Palace Hotel owner, and the other is Mace, Putman's enforcer. Like most of the villains in the Cycle, Mace has his good points and his bad points. He is cruel but he also has a code of ethics that he lives by.
Like many of the Ranown villains his sense of ethics seems to be twisted. He says "The trouble with you Clay is that you're rich enough to be an honorable man. I can't afford it." He also said "Whether the South wins or loses means nothing to me. Never has."
Mace is driven by greed. He is not fighting for a cause.