Blackthorn Review

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Bolivia. Butch Cassidy (Shepard) is still alive and going by the name James Blackthorne. Still craving notoriety, and perhaps a last steal, he enlists the help of Sundance-like rough rider Eduardo (Eduardo Noriega).


This sparse, handsome what-if Western discovers that Butch Cassidy did not perish at the hands of the Bolivian army, but has grown old and reflective among the South American mountains under the name of James Blackthorn and the weathered guise of Sam Shepard. Intent on getting home again, he is bushwhacked by a young, Sundance-like thief (Eduardo Noriega) who cajoles him into one last misadventure, cracking the dam on a flood of memories including the fate of his former partner. In a sense it is a sequel, with plenty of well-meant references to the original film — including flashbacks to Butch and Sundance’s heyday as playfully done as George Roy Hill’s classic — but the gist here is elegiac, unhurried, more Unforgiven, as it mixes Shepard’s tired-gun sermons with horsey clichés and the odd flare of originality. Worthwhile.

Sam Shepard illuminated the old West - or at least the South American parts - with creaky charisma. He unleashes a growly old timer to rival Rooster Cogburn or Will Munny.