Living on the Western frontier, Mary Bee Cuddy is an independent-minded woman who has yet to find her husband. A strong woman, she is perceived as bossy and rather plain, keeping her from finding someone to settle down with. When three woman living in the community are driven to insanity by a variety of harsh realities of pioneer life, Mary Bee volunteers to transport the women to Iowa, where they can get the necessary help. As she sets out, Mary Bee soon realizes how daunting and dangerous the journey will be, employing a low-life drifter, George Briggs, to aid her. Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman is beautifully photographed western that is a poetic commentary about an era in America that routinely crushed the souls of people under its harsh conditions. The Homesman is a film that puts the spotlight on Prairie madness, showcasing the nightmarish situations that have scarred these woman. While the film's commentary on the treatment of woman during the time is very prevalent throughout, Jones wisely makes this more of a thematic under-current, intent on keeping his focus on the instability this climate had on everyone. The Homesman features beautiful cinematography, with wide shots that emphasize the wide open spaces and desolate setting of the West. Jones uses these visuals to not only capture the lack of control his protagonists have over this harsh environment but also the loneliness and isolation of these two characters, most notably Mary Bee Cuddy. With The Homesman Tommy Lee Jones has once again proved to be one of the better actors turned directors, delivering a powerful portrait of a harsh time in American history.
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