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Top 5 Sam Elliott Westerns

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

Sam Elliott is known for three things: his mustache, his baritone voice, and his westerns. The actor plays an excellent cowboy whether it’s on the big or small screen.

Elliott actually got his start in westerns, and they’ve been a big part of his career. But which ones are his best? Outsider has ranked Elliott’s Top Five Westerns for your viewing pleasure.

5. Sam Elliott Plays a Lawman in ‘The Desperate Trail’

In this 1994 film, Sam Elliott is chasing this Old West Bonnie and Clyde. The actor plays a ruthless lawman hunting after a couple, running from the strong arm of the law. In any other film, Elliot’s character might have been the hero. But the West was a lot more complicated than that. Elliott plays like an old fashioned terminator with more mustache.

The lawman proves that he will do whatever that’s necessary to bring the couple to justice. Even if that means so morally questionable acts. It’s rare to see Elliott as the aggressor. But this TV flick makes for a fun cat and mouse chase.

4. The Actor Gets Lawless in ‘Molly and Lawless John’

One of first Elliott’s first starring roles, “Molly and Lawless John” casts the actor on the other side of the law. But here Elliott is just as ruthless if not more so. It’s the classic nice girl meets bad boy and falls in love. Except this bad boy is a prisoner (played by Elliot) condemned to die.

The character soon puts his charms on the sheriff’s wife in a bid for freedom. We would say that the power of the mustache is strong. But this film features a young and clean-cut Elliott. Still, there’s probably a reason you shouldn’t try to break convicted criminals out of jail as Molly soon finds out.

3. Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck Play Brothers in ‘The Shadow Riders’

Now for a western that features double the mustache. Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck play brothers out for justice and revenge. On their own, both actors are known for their iconic facial hair. But back in the 1980s, the two joined forces to bring this western to the world. They definitely look convincing as brothers.

Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, Elliott and Selleck play brothers who fought on opposite sides. But the two must join forces to save their families and get revenge.

2. The Actor Starred in ‘The Quick and The Dead’

Not to be confused with Sam Raimi’s humorous western (also a classic in its own right), this 1987 western casts Elliott in the leading role. Similar in many ways to the film “Shane,” the western is a quintessential Elliott classic. It features Elliott as a gunslinger on the pursuit of a man across the West.

Like most westerns, Elliott’s pursuit can end in only one way – violence. The film has all the thrills and drama that one could ask for on a Saturday night.

1. ‘Tombstone’ is a Classic Western

There really couldn’t have been any other film as our No. 1 pick, could there? “Tombstone” still stands out as one of the best films in the genre period. Elliot lends his gravitates and baritone to Marshal Virgil Earp. While he’s not at the forefront, he plays a very important role in the saga of the Earp brothers.

Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer also star in this classic that explores the difference between justice and revenge in the Wild West.