The Last Of The Dogmen Is A Great (But Forgotten) Modern-Day Western

The Last Of The Dogmen is a little-seen modern-day western starring Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey that deserves a second look.

last of the dogmen poster

The Last Of The Dogmen is a little-seen modern-day western that fans of the genre need to seek out. Hollywood used to be dominated by westerns, led by stars such as John Wayne (The Searchers) or Clint Eastwood (The Outlaw Josey Wales). Sadly, their popularity started to seriously wane around the start of the 1970s and they became much rarer. Outside of Eastwood's occasional foray into the genre with the likes of Pale Rider or 1992's Unforgiven, the few westerns being produced tended not to fare well commercially, such as notorious 1980 flop Heaven's Gate.

That said, there have still been some fantastic westerns made in the last 30 years, including Tombstone, The Hateful Eight and Bone Tomahawk - all starring Kurt Russell, incidentally. Western video games are something of a niche subgenre, which Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption franchise has covered. While the genre is unlikely to regain the popularity it once had among moviegoers, its still alive and kicking.

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The Last Of The Dogmen stars Tom Berenger (Inception) as a tracker named Gates, who is tasked with hunting down escaped criminals in the mountains of northwest Montana. He and an archaeologist named Sloan (Barbara Hershey, Insidious) give chase, and soon learn they might be on the trail of a forgotten group of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers who escaped the infamous Sand Creek massacre of 1864. This group has remained hidden in the mountains of over a century, killing anybody who would threaten to expose them to the world.

Gates and Sloan are captured but soon bond with the Dog Soldiers, which makes things difficult when the sheriff (Kurtwood Smith, RoboCop) comes looking for them with a posse. The Last Of The Dogmen came and went upon release in 1995 and is rarely mentioned now, but its a seriously underrated gem. It's got a solid script, great performances - especially by the late Steven Reevis (Fargo) as Yellow Tail - and features some beautiful scenery. It's a slow, lyrical western that doesn't have much action, but its a journey worth taking.

Oddly, some prints of The Last Of The Dogmen features a voiceover by Wilford Brimley (The Thing) as an unseen character, which is unnecessary at best and distracting at worst. The movie is essentially forgotten nowadays, but for western fans looking for a thoughtful and entertaining example of the genre, The Last Of The Dogmen is definitely worth finding.

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