Zowie, a pip of a western, and not at all a sequel to A Fistful of Yojimbo like I’d feared. Thrilling action with all the close-ups and wide-shots, Morricone twang and badass tough guys we’d expect.
Clint, eight years before facing off against Briggs:
Clint is a steely young bounty killer out for heaps of money.
Lee, some six years after Ride Lonesome:
Lee is a steely older bounty killer out for revenge. Of course we do not know he’s out for revenge until the very end when it’s revealed that the music-box portrait chain he carries around belonged to his sister who was long ago killed by super-thug El Indio.
Gian VolontÃ¨ of Hercules and the Captive Women, later in Le Cercle rouge and Sacco & Vanzetti:
The meaning of this musical/emotional prop is withheld until the final showdown, almost exactly like Charles Bronson’s harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West. Lee and Indio are shown to be excellent long-range shooters. Lee, however, is the Fastest Man In The West (making the outcome of the climactic shootout a foregone conclusion). I think Clint’s special skill is a supernatural awareness of his surroundings, knowing exactly where/who to shoot. Awesome movie, anyway.