I watched a good Western on the Encore Channel this weekend, one of the interesting, rare examples of the genre with film noir elements. Directed by Andre de Toth, who specialized in Western and crime films, the movie features Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake as the leads. While the plot could be characterized as the standard Western land-grab by an unscrupulous, evil rancher, the usually clear moral divide is considerably muddied by the presence of Lake (de Toth's wife at the time) who uses her significant charms to manipulate the men around her into getting her way. She is very good in this part and just as much a disturbing presence as any film noir femme fatale. McCrea was his usual stoic self and I thought he did well in the part, but I agree with the IMDB reviewer who suggested that Randolph Scott might have done a good bit more to intensify and deepen the movie's dark aspects. With some magnificent location shots in Zion National Park and solid back-up by talented character actors like Charlie Ruggles, Ramrod is well worth viewing by those who are interested in Westerns that stray from the beaten path and take a less than black-and-white view of human nature.