15 Most Underrated Westerns of the 1990s, Ranked
Interestingly enough, it seems like the '90s were actually a pretty solid era for the Western genre.
While waiting for Yellowstone season 5 part 2 or checking out new Lawmen: Bass Reeves mini-series, here's the list of underrated yet great Westerns made for the big screen.
15. The Long Kill (1999)
Also known as Purgatory, The Long Kill is a supernatural Western about a gang of outlaws led by Blackjack Britton, who, after a botched robbery, flee into a mysterious town called Refuge. Unbeknownst to them, Refuge is inhabited by famous dead outlaws and lawmen who seek redemption for their past sins. The twist? Violence is impossible in Refuge.
14. Desperate Trail (1994)
Desperate Trail follows the story of Sarah O'Rourke, a woman on the run after killing her abusive husband. She teams up with Jack Cooper, a charming outlaw with a bounty on his head. As they evade a relentless marshal and his posse, Sarah and Jack develop a deep bond. They face various challenges and adversaries along their journey, thankful for their skills in survival and combat.
13. Buffalo Soldiers (1997)
Buffalo Soldiers is a story about African American U.S. cavalrymen, known as Buffalo Soldiers, stationed in the American West post-Civil War. The main plot revolves around their struggle against racial prejudice and their quest to prove themselves as soldiers. The unit, led by Sergeant Wyatt, is tasked with a dangerous mission to capture an Apache warrior. Along the way, they face various challenges, including conflicts with other Army units and Native Americans.
12. Bad Girls (1994)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 13%
Imagine a Western where the damsels in distress are their own heroes. Bad Girls follows four prostitutes – Cody, Anita, Eileen, and Lilly – who flee their brothel after Cody kills a client in self-defense. Hunted by the law and outlaws alike, they dream of a fresh start in Oregon. Along the way, they rob banks to fund their journey, becoming wanted outlaws.
11. Last Man Standing (1996)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%
A Prohibition-era Western, Last Man Standing sees a mysterious drifter, John Smith, arriving in the small town of Jericho, Texas. The town is torn between two rival bootlegging gangs. Smith, a gun-for-hire, plays both sides against each other, escalating their war for his gain. He forms a bond with a local woman and a sheriff. As the gang warfare intensifies, Smith's manipulation leads to the destruction of both gangs.
10. Wild Bill (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 46%
Wild Bill delves into the later life of legendary gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok. Bill's past catches up to him as he drifts from town to town. He reunites with Calamity Jane in Deadwood, where his health and eyesight are deteriorating. The story flashes back to Bill's earlier exploits and his reputation as a lawman and gunfighter. In Deadwood, a young man named Jack McCall, whose mother had a tragic encounter with Bill, seeks vengeance.
9. Ravenous (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%
Ravenous is a unique blend of horror and Western, set in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War. Captain John Boyd is stationed at a remote fort in the Sierra Nevada, where a mysterious man, Colqhoun, arrives and tells a harrowing tale of his wagon train getting lost and resorting to cannibalism. The soldiers investigate, only to discover it's a trap – Colqhoun is a cannibalistic madman.
8. The Hi-Lo Country (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 54%
In post-World War II New Mexico, The Hi-Lo Country focuses on the intense friendship and rivalry between two cowboys, Big Boy Matson and Pete Calder. They return home to find their way of life threatened by the modern world. The central conflict involves their battle against a corrupt rancher and Big Boy's affair with Mona, the wife of a friend.
7. Legends of the Fall (1994)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 57%
Set against the backdrop of World War I and Prohibition, Legends of the Fall tells the epic tale of the Ludlow family in Montana. The story centers on the lives of Colonel William Ludlow and his three sons, Tristan, Alfred, and Samuel. The brothers' lives are turned upside down by love, war, and family conflict. Samuel's death in WWI and Tristan's subsequent quest for vengeance lead to a complex web of relationships and rivalry, especially involving Samuel's fiancée, Susannah.\
6. The Quick and the Dead (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%
In The Quick and the Dead, a mysterious woman named Ellen rides into the town of Redemption, controlled by the ruthless John Herod, who hosts a fast-draw single-elimination tournament. Ellen enters, seeking vengeance for her father's death at Herod's hands. As the contest progresses, Ellen's past unfolds, revealing her as a sharpshooter trained by her father. Tensions rise as Ellen faces various gunfighters, including a former Herod associate and a convicted murderer.
5. The Newton Boys (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%
Based on the true story of the Newton Gang, a family of bank robbers, The Newton Boys follows the four Newton brothers in the 1920s. Willis, the mastermind, leads his brothers Jess, Joe, and Dock in a series of daring and successful bank and train robberies across the country. They are assisted by an explosives expert, Brentwood Glasscock. Their biggest heist is a mail train robbery, but it goes awry, leading to their eventual arrest.
4. Tombstone (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 72%
In Tombstone, retired lawman Wyatt Earp moves to Tombstone, Arizona, aiming for a peaceful life. But peace is a far cry in this town. Wyatt, joined by his brothers Virgil and Morgan and the infamous Doc Holliday, soon clashes with the villainous Cowboy gang. After the Cowboys kill Morgan and cripple Virgil, Wyatt goes on a revenge spree.
3. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%
Josephine Monaghan is a young woman from a wealthy family who heads west after being cast out due to an illegitimate pregnancy. To survive in the harsh environment, she disguises herself as a man, 'Jo', and quickly learns the ways of the West. Jo becomes a respected figure in a mining town, keeping her true identity a secret for years. But then she forms a bond with a Chinese immigrant, Tinman Wong, revealing her identity to him.
2. The Jack Bull (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
The Jack Bull tells the story of Myrl Redding, a horse trader in Wyoming. After a dispute with a wealthy landowner, Henry Ballard, over a toll gate, Ballard mistreats Redding's horses and a servant. Redding seeks justice through legal means but is thwarted by corruption. This leads him to take the law into his own hands, igniting a feud that spirals into a full-blown range war.
1. Lone Star (1996)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Lone Star is a contemporary mystery set in a small Texas town, where Sheriff Sam Deeds investigates an unsolved murder that ties back to his late father, the legendary Sheriff Buddy Deeds. The investigation unravels long-buried secrets, including some truths about his father, a love affair with a Hispanic woman, and the real story behind the murder.