1975 Cattle Rustling Movie Filmed in Paradise Valley is a Classic
Nearly 50 years ago, a half-century before the premiere of the wildly popular series 'Yellowstone', another Western was hitting the silver screen with the backdrop of Paradise Valley as a film set. The movie is Rancho Deluxe, starring Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterson. Filming began in the spring of 1974 in the Livingston area.
The movie had mixed reviews when released.
The film is about two pals, "Jack" and "Cecil" (Bridges and Waterson) who scheme a plan to rustle cattle from the Rancho Deluxe, a fictional ranch in Paradise Valley. Critics weren't particularly fond of the movie. The late Roger Ebert had this to say in his 1975 review of the film,
I don't know how this movie went so disastrously wrong, but it did, and the story must be a sad one.
Ebert also panned what he described as unnatural-sounding dialog and multiple scenes and jokes that fell flat.
It would never pass the PC police today.
If the R-rated Rancho Deluxe were remade, you can be assured that many of the jokes and scenes wouldn't fly in today's Hollywood. Inappropriate Native American dialog, a close-up shot of a prairie dog being blasted with a rifle, and numerous other scenes would probably have some filmgoers in outrage.
If you've never seen the movie, at least check out the clip above where Joe Spinelli's character (Mr. Coulson) talks to Sam Waterson's character about Montanan's love affair with pickup trucks. The line is great,
The poor people of this state are dope fiends for pickup trucks. As soon as they get ten cents ahead, they trade in on a new pickup truck. The families, homesteads, schools, hospitals and happiness of Montana have been sold down the river to buy pickup trucks! It is a sickness here worse than alcohol or dope... it is the pickup truck death, and there is no cure in sight.
Ah, the pickup truck death. The movie also features a cool cameo with Jimmy Buffet singing 'Livingston Saturday Night' in a bar scene. Next time you're scrolling your various streaming services looking for something to watch, see if you can find this classic Montana movie from 1975 and give it shot.