“Based on a Western novel by Robert B. Parker, the Appaloosa story is so old it’s practically got tumbleweeds blowing through it,” writes Newark Star-Ledger critic Stephen J. Whitty in a 9.6 profile of director-star Ed Harris. “Small town, terrorized by a lawless land baron, hires two gunmen to clean things up. There are a couple of gunfights, a raid on a train and, for good measure, a piano-playing lady who may or may not have a heart of gold.
“Except that, although it does have a couple of strong sequences, most of the action in Appaloosa is fast and fatal — less like the drawn-out sequences of a Sergio Leone film, and more like those `50s samurai flicks in which an entire room is left skewered in seconds. And much of the drama comes from the characters themselves.”