A thief or a thief-taker who seeks to direct his own affairs on Earth without having arrived at wisdom is two kinds of a fool, told concurrently to save time and establish a dramatic difference of opinion between them.
If Stroheim, Griffith and Hitchcock can be counted as progenitors, there is also Joseph Kane (Flame of Barbary Coast) for the seacoast motif later taken up by Clint Eastwood (Play Misty for Me).
Sergio Leone (Fistful of Dollars) and William Wiard (Tom Horn) have masterpieces owing to it, Henry Hathaway (Nevada Smith) as well, there’s a touch of True Grit in the native speech patterns also. Reisz, Huston, Rosenberg...
Sam Peckinpah took up the very theme the following year in Ride the High Country, later on the great analysis is Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.
Bosley Crowther at his smarmiest sought to cut down the director “like young Alexander (Alexander the Great, that is)” in his New York Times review. Among Variety’s praises was “notable for visual artistry alone.” Tom Milne in a remarkably muddled review for Time Out Film Guide has “a Western of remarkable though sometimes muddled power,” Halliwell’s Film Guide “grossly self-indulgent”.