The greatest extended uncut shot in movie-western history, full of dark irony and without a word of dialogue, happens near the end of William Wyler‘s The Big Country (’58). For years I’d told myself it lasts 75 seconds (2:25 to 3:41) but Wyler actually uses a five-second MCU cutaway (3:25 to 3:30) to allow Charlton Heston to express contempt for Charles Bickford‘s stubborn hostility as well as a bit of self-loathing for himself. It’s so brilliant the way Wyler shows the Terrill ranch hands gradually joining in two groups — three at first, a gap, and then another six or seven.