After a lengthy apprenticeship in the theater and TV, this was Sam Peckinpah's second feature, and the only one that completely fulfilled his talents as a director. Joel McRea and Randolph Scott (finishing their sterling careers in a blaze of glory here) joust over right and wrong, money and honor in a parable about two men bringing a gold shipment from the mines to a bank. Ironically, they are brought to the brink of destruction not by greed but by the torments of young love, something of which they only have dim memories. Peckinpah, who was an accomplished TV scriptwriter, reportedly augmented N.B. Stone's original story with his own touches. The pacing and changes of mood, the action scenes, the great dialogue are all masterfully handled and speak of a very talented artist still more interested in his material than in himself. Sadly, this didn't last; Peckinpah's next feature, "Major Dundee", was a fiasco, and although he created many great moments in a dozen more films over the next 20 years, he never again pulled it all together over the course of an entire project. By the by, "Ride the High Country" is certainly worthy of DVD treatment.