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magnificent-7Every once in a while a good western comes along. And it’s even more surprising when it’s a remake. I don’t know how many of you have seen the 1960 version of The Magnificent Seven with Yul Brenner, but it’s a re-imagination of the 1954 Japanese film call Seven Samurai. That makes the 2016 version the third time around.

Another little piece of trivia: It is the final film of composer James Horner. He died the previous year and his friend completed the music.

When one the locals in a mining town try to stand up to bad guy Bartholomew Bogue, he murders the man in cold blood. His wife rides to the nearest town for help where she encounters warrant officer Sam Chisom, played by Denzel Washington. Washington plays the perfect mix of cold-blooded determination and the desire to right a wrong.

Chisolm recruits a group of gunslingers. Chris Pratt plays Josh Faraday, a joker who is fast with the gun and cards. They are joined by an unlikely crew, sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux and friend, knife-wielding Billy Rocks, a notorious Mexican outlaw, a skilled tracker and a Comanche warrior.

They kill Bogue’s men and drive the corrupt sheriff away with a warning to leave Rose Creek alone. Certain that Bogue and reinforcements will return, they begin training townspeople to defend their home. Fighting side by side with ordinary people determined to take back their town, the cold, hard gunslingers find themselves feeling like a part of something good for the first time in a long time.

When Bogue returns, he brings an army and a Gatling Gun. Somehow the town manages to defeat them. But it is a costly victory.Those who did not survive are honored by the people of Rose Creek as heroes, while Chisolm rides off with the survivors.

Even though unlikely comrades, these men become friends who are willing to fight for a cause and die for each other. If you liked the l960s version, you’ll like this one. The music is perfect. The setting is perfect, and the characters have the same gritty appeal.


Pinto Beans

In every western I’ve ever watched, at some point in the movie you see a cowboy scraping beans out of a plate with a spoon and sopping up the juice with cornbread. I don’t know what spices they used or how they were cooked, but this is how my mama taught me.

1 lb dried pinto beans (washed, sorted and soaked in water for 24 hours. Rinse and add water to cover)

1 onion, finely chopped

1/4 c bacon grease.

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Brown the onions  in the bacon grease. Add to crockpot. Add Beans and water. Add spices. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Serve with cornbread and jalapenos.