Stagecoach (1939)

Directed by John Ford

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo, and learn something about each other in the process.

As Edward Buscombe has observed, the traditional western has sexism built in because the woman symbolizes an alternative to violence: she offers the hero a way out without killing, but to satisfy the need for action, this offer must be rejected, making the woman’s role a rather tiresome impediment to the main attraction. […] The story of Stagecoach takes us from a town of self-righteous humbugs to Lordsburg, a protonoir hellhole of prostitution and incipient violence (all forms of urban living seem intolerable to Ford).

David Cairns (Criterion)