Perhaps we should make a distinction between Westerns and cowboy movies, one we can use when a film like « Will Penny » comes along. This isn’t a Western; it’s slung too close to the ground for that (…) « Will Penny » occupies this land of « real » cowboys most convincingly. Its heroes are not very handsome or glamorous. Its title character, played by Charlton Heston, is a man in his mid-40s who has been away from society so long he hardly knows how to react when he is treated as a civilized being. And its love story, involving Heston and Joan Hackett, is one of the most satisfying I can remember (…) The admirable thing about the movie is its devotion to real life. These are the kind of people, we feel, who must really have inhabited the West: common, direct, painfully shy in social situations and very honest. — Roger Ebert

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