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‘Murder at Yellowstone City’ Review: A Well-Crafted Mix of Traditional Western and Murder Mystery Elements

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Joe Leydon Film CriticThe first tip-off is the title: “Murder at Yellowstone City” is not your standard-issue shoot-’em-up.

Rather, director Richard Gray’s well-crafted and handsomely mounted indie is as much a solidly constructed mystery as it is it a conventionally satisfying oater, with much to recommend to fans of either genre who rarely get to sample such a mix.

Indeed, outside of Henry Hathaway’s “Five Card Stud” (1968) and the lamentably short-lived 2003 TV series “Peacemakers,” it’s hard to recall many other scenarios that suggest what might have resulted had Zane Grey and Agatha Christie bellied up to the bar and swapped ideas.Only gradually does it emerge that Thomas Jane’s Thaddeus Murphy is the sagebrush sleuth of the piece, as his character — prodded by Anna Camp as Alice, his astute wife and partner — demonstrates surprising pathological skills while attempting to prove the innocence of a suspected killer.

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