Friday, February 22, 2019

My Ten Favorite Western Movie Couples

Cordy at Any Merry Little Thought is hosting her second Lovely Blog Party this month, a blog party dedicated to beautiful romances throughout fiction.  For this party, I hereby present you with my ten favorite romantic couples from western movies!  These are are couples whose love stories I swoon over, or cheer for, or simply never tire of.  Couples that I think have the chance to really, truly be able to live happily ever after.  Because if I don't feel like they're going to have a happy marriage, I'm not happy with a fictional couple being together at the end of a movie or book.  It's a thing.  Okay?  Okay.  Let's do this.

Titles linked to my reviews where applicable.

1. Amy Martin (Emily Banks) and Cal Wayne (Bobby Darin) in Gunfight in Abilene (1967)

Cal and Amy were once planning to get married, but then he was reported dead during the Civil War, and she began seeing his best friend's older brother.  When Cal turns up very much alive, Amy must decide between her long-smoldering feelings for him or the security offered by her new fiance.  No prizes guessing which one *I* would choose.  I actually co-wrote a follow-up fanfic story for this movie once, which you can read here on  (It's posted under the name MountySwiss, the person I co-wrote it with.)(I wrote all the scenes with Cal Wayne in them, and she wrote the others.)(It does have some violence, but no bad language or sex.)(The story, I mean.  The same goes for the movie, actually.)(ANYWAY!)

2. Penelope Worth (Gail Russell) and Quirt Evans (John Wayne) in Angel and the Badman (1947)

She might not quite be an angel, but then again, he's not quite a bad man either.  By learning from each other and both being willing to change and grow in order to live in the other person's world, they wind up becoming admirably suited to each other.  I think they have a beautiful life ahead.

3. Elena de la Vega (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) in The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Elena is the daughter of landed, titled Spanish aristocrats.  Alejandro is an orphan who grew up ragged and scrabbling for existence.  But they're both passionate and principled, and when they learn to work together, they become unstoppable.

4. Dallas (Claire Trevor) and the Ringo Kid (John Wayne) in Stagecoach (1939).

I've got a fondness for outcasts, and no mistake.  This former fallen woman and former convicted criminal will be mutually helpful in their quests to forge a better life by leaving their past selves behind.

5. Hilary Price (Juliet Mills) and Jamie Bowen (Don Galloway) in The Rare Breed (1966)

She's a young lady from Great Britain, travelling in America with her mother and the prize bull they've sold to a Texas rancher.  He's the rancher's neglected son, sweet and kind when his father wants him to be tough and rowdy.  They bring out the best in each other, and I think they're absolutely adorable together -- maybe the cutest couple on this list!

6. Ruth Lavery (Mona Freeman) and Choya (Alan Ladd) in Branded (1950)

Choya and Ruth are both so stubborn that, once they put their minds toward being together instead of working against each other, they've got a bright future.  Even though they first met when he was trying to con her family by posing as her long-lost brother, once they clear up that little misunderstanding, things smooth out readily enough.

7. Jessica Harrison (Sigrid Thornton) and Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) in The Man from Snowy River (1982)

Probably this should be much higher on my list, since this is my favorite movie and all.  But sometimes I worry a little that Jim and Jessica will both be too stubborn and attached to their lifestyles to make a good go of things.  If they really want to, though, they can do it.

8. Molly Stark (Diane Lane) and the Virginian (Bill Pullman) in The Virginian (2000)

More stubborn people!  Being stubborn myself, I often gravitate toward people who are stubborn, tenacious, even a little bull-dogged.  Anyway, the Virginian spends most of the movie gently, determinedly pursuing the new schoolteacher from back East.  Molly Stark spends the movie insisting she won't marry a violent cowboy or some such fiddle-faddle and rot.  But I'm quite sure they'll be happy together, especially since he's so very patient.  She will require patience, I think.

9. Dell Payton (Shirley MacLaine) and Jason Sweet (Glenn Ford) in The Sheepman (1958)

She's 24, he's 42, and you expect this to be a weird sort of awkward, but instead, they're adorable.  Much of the adorableness stems from the fact that they seem to have some kind of inside joke that causes them to work really hard not to laugh in just about every scene they share.  That mutual humor makes me think they're going to have a grand life together.

10. John Chandler (Alan Ladd) and Linnett Moore (Olivia de Havilland) in The Proud Rebel (1958)

Both John and Linnett have big problems.  John's son (David Ladd) has been mute since his mother died.  Linnett is a single woman, not young, who owns a fine farm that some mean sheep ranchers want to get by any means necessary.  But they're both kind, good, honorable people and, together, they eventually find a way to make a better, happier life.

I hope you had fun with that!  Maybe even found a western movie or two you want to watch now :-)

PLEASE NOTE!  Most of these movies are NOT actually black-and-white.  All but #s 2 and 4 are color movies.  I just used b&w pictures of all of the couples because it was aesthetically pleasing.

If you want to see all my "ten favorite" lists, I have collected them on this page, with links to each individual post.


  1. I was running through couples in my head when I saw your subject, and only one of them was here. However, none of these get any kind of an argument from me, and I am embarrassed that I didn't think of "the cutest couple of on the list." I think I'll often return to this because I haven't seen number one and I don't want to forget it.

    1. Caftan Woman, oooooh! Now I'm intrigued. Who were on your mental list?

      I'm so happy that Gunfight in Abilene is finally available on DVD because for years, I just had this old VHS copy my dad bought on a whim 20 years ago, and it had been about watched to death.

  2. I've seen 3, 7, and 10, and I agree with you on all of them! Great choices!

    1. Thanks, MC! How cool you've seen basically a third of these :-)

  3. Boy howdy, did this ever bring back memories of Friday nights in Michigan watching Westerns with the family and pizza!!! Great choices. I gotta say, my all time fave is still Jim and Jessica :-)

    1. Mom, indeed. Though we saw most of these after moving to NC, but yes, Friday Night Movies are definitely where I saw the majority of these first.

      I long ago (like, as early as my preteens, possibly) became convinced that Jim & Jessica were not particularly suited for each other in the long term. But that's just my take.

  4. I haven't seen any of these movies. I'm sort of trying to imagine whether I'd like the couples or not, based on your descriptions . . .

    I am a very stubborn person (heh heh hehhhhhhhhhhhhh), but I don't know if I'd go well with someone equally stubborn, or not. It would depend on the KIND of stubborn and how they chose to express it, whether it made me feel safe vs. threatened.


    1. Jessica, I... think you might like The Mask of Zorro because it's very aesthetically pleasing.

      Yes, the person/character has to be able to put their stubbornness to good use, not just be stubborn.

    2. okay! I'll keep an eye open for it :D

  5. Ooh! A few of these definitely pique my interest. Specifically, do you think I'd enjoy The Virginian and/or The Sheepman?

    Claire and Ringo were wonderful, and I remember there being a lot of chemistry between Elena and Alejandro. ;) I ought to re-watch the Zorro movies . . .

    1. Olivia, well... The Virginian is a made-for-TV movie, so the production values are not spectacular. But the storytelling and acting from the leads is quite solid. You might quite dig it. All about a principled good guy standing up against sidewinding baddies and such.

      The Sheepman is a really quirky, fun western, and I want to watch it again so it's fresh in my head and I can review it. It was an unexpected treasure that I liked a lot more than I ever expected to. You might get a kick out of it.

      I think you might really like The Rare Breed too -- Hilary and Jamie are kind of a side-plot, actually, but important to the story. And I think you might like The Proud Rebel -- it's a very lovely story, and you can watch it for free on Amazon Prime right now...

    2. Neat! Thanks; I'll have to keep an eye out for all of them.

  6. Aw, I love how I recommended The Proud Rebel to you 'cause now I see it pop up in random blog posts. :) It's such a great, quiet little movie. The only other couple I know off this list are Dell and Jason. And I think they're really sweet.

    I can't think of any other western couples I really ship. (But, of course, as soon as I publish this comment, I'll come up with half a dozen.)

    1. Eva, indeed! I just wish they'd put out a really good transfer of it instead of the grainy ones that are everywhere. Somebody like Olive Films needs to get on that.

      Dell and Jason are just unpredictable and awesome.

      If you come up with more, lemme know!

  7. I'm sorry to say I have not see any of these movies except 'the mask of zorro' which I've never thought of as a western. I'm not against westerns, though it's very odd but I haven't seen much of them, just some john wayne and james stewart ones.

    #1 - I heard of this storyline before and I don't like it much, though I do think people almost always go back to their first love

    #2 - they sound sweet, I've always found john wayne to have this gentleman-like, I don't know, attitude which means he would be good to the woman he loves, I admit, I only saw a few john wayne movies but I got this impression

    #3 - I really do like elena and alejandro together, they're just fun to watch, I guess I like those love-to-hate-you kind of beginnings that turns into real love

    #8- you make me want to watch this movie, will have to check this out. I do like contrasting couples and I'm stubborn myself so I would like to see how these two get along.

    have a lovely day.

    1. Lissa, I admit my concept of the western is pretty broad -- I'll include things like Zorro that are set in old California, plus things like Quigley Down Under and The Man from Snowy River that are set in Australia.

      #1 has a lot more going on than just "which guy will she choose?" Like the fact that the guy she's engaged to now is manipulative, greedy, and eventually decides to kill off his rival...

      John Wayne does tend to play characters who behave extremely gentlemanly toward women in most instances. He's extra-sweet in Angel and the Badman.

      The Virginian is available on DVD, so I hope you can get a copy and watch it!


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