Some would call Monte Hellman‘s The Shooting, from 1966, an absurdist Western but whether it is or not, it is decidedly unusual and, in its own way, entertaining. A woman, Adrien Joyce, wrote the script, in which “a mysterious woman persuades two cowboys to help her in a revenge scheme” ( The woman in question (Millie Perkins) is pretty but waspish, and her boyfriend is a detestable gunslinger (Jack Nicholson) she has hired, as she hired the two cowboys, to do the killing she wants. Cowboy Willett Gashade (Warren Oates), however, opposes and fights against the killing.

In the film, the past is unrevealed and motivations unknown. The woman, who may be pregnant, keeps mum about everything, even her name. What we do know is that two mostly ordinary men, the cowboys, are quite stultified by peculiar evil, even if the gunslinger ends up stultified as well.

Joyce also wrote the screenplay for Five Easy Pieces. Dead in 2004, she had gifts. Hellman, who died in 2021, provides some impressive long shots.