I have to admit I didn't appreciate this film the first time I watched it. I liked quite a lot about it but found the female part (played by Rene Zellweger) annoying and an unnecessary part (not realising at the time this was based on a book). I wanted a good old bloke's western with gunfights and no women allowed.
Second time around I really appreciated the real reason for this movie. The relationship between the two main characters, Virgil and Everett (played brilliantly by Ed Harris, who also directed, and Viggo Mortensen). Ed Harris is excellent in this role and the whole setting is very believable.
A realistic and thought provoking modern Western that may need to be watched twice to really appreciate how good it actually is.