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Man of the West/Red River/Return of the Magnificent Seven [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Man of the West
Anthony Mann's final foray into the western genre is a disturbing examination of man's baser instincts, rising in intensity to the level of Shakespearean tragedy. The film begins as seemingly naive Link (Gary Cooper) leaves his family to take a train to Fort Worth. Also on the train is saloon singer Billie Ellis (Julie London), who is compelled by con man Sam Beasley (Arthur O'Connell) to cheat Link out of his money. But the con comes to naught when the nefarious Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb) and his gang rob the train. Link takes Billie and Beasley to Tobin's cabin, where it is revealed the mild-mannered Link is Tobin's nephew and a former member of his cutthroat gang. Dock Tobin draws up a plan to rob a bank which the outlaws find agreeable, but they're reluctant to have Link rejoin their group. Soon it becomes apparent why they feel this way; when Link rejoins his old gang, his shy demeanor falls away and his outlaw instincts rise to the surface. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Red River
John Wayne -- showing off a darker side to his screen persona than we'd previously seen -- portrays Thomas Dunson, a frontiersman who, with his longtime partner Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan), abandons a westbound wagon train in 1851 to make his future as a rancher in Texas. Doing so forces him to abandon Fen (Colleen Gray), his fiancee -- and when she is killed in an Indian raid a short time later, it taints any good that Dunson might find in the future he carves out for himself, destroying any joy he might derive from life. The sole survivor of the raid is Matthew Garth (Mickey Kuhn), a young orphan who is unusually handy with a gun for one his age -- and already knows how to channel his grief and horror at what he's seen, as much as Dunson does. Dunson informally adopts Matt as his son, and over the next 14 years he builds up one of the largest ranches in the entire state of Texas. And all of it is worth nothing, a result of the economic ruin wrought on the state in the aftermath of the Civil War. Matthew (Montgomery Clift), now back from the war and doing some of his own adventuring, finds a darker, more taciturn Dunson than he's ever known -- as Groot tells it, he's afraid because he just doesn't know how to fight the threats he now faces. With Matthew now returned, Dunson decides to move his herd, nearly 10,000 head of cattle, to Missouri, where there is a market for beef, over 1000 miles away through territory controlled by border gangs hundreds of men strong that have stopped every cattle drive up to now, and Indians who have picked off what the gangs missed. Dunson drives his men as hard as he does himself, relentlessly, till even some of his best hands break under the strain -- and he's not above killing anyone who challenges his authority on the drive. He's able to hold them in line as long as Matthew backs him up, and he does until Dunson, exhausted and worn down by lack of sleep, finally goes too far. Matthew steps in, backed by laconic, smirking gunman Cherry Valance (John Ireland) and most of the rest of the men and takes the herd from Dunson. Leaving his father and mentor behind, he heads the herd toward Kansas, where -- so the men are told -- there's a new railroad. Along the way, he meets Tess Millay (Joanne Dru), a card-dealer who falls in love with the young man. But he has to finish the drive and leaves her behind, much as Dunson left Fen. And they all know that Dunson is coming after Matthew to kill him. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Return of the Magnificent Seven
The first of two sequels to The Magnificent Seven (1960), this bloody western featured only Yul Brynner from the original picture's all-star cast. Once again, the residents of a pastoral Mexican village become enslaved by a maniacal brute, this time the insane rancher Lorca (Emilio Fernandez), who has corralled a small army of 50 gunmen to intimidate the citizenry into building a church in memory of his son. Chico (now played by Julian Mateos), an original member of the seven gunslingers from the first film, hears of the villagers' plight and sends for Chris Adams (Brynner), who rounds up another lucky seven shootists from various places of ill-repute (including prison). The new bunch, which now includes Warren Oates and Claude Akins, storms the storm, intending to restore order. This film was, in turn, followed by a pair of further sequels, Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) and The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gary Cooper
    Gary Cooper - Link Jones
  • Julie London
    Julie London - Billie Ellis
  • Lee J. Cobb
    Lee J. Cobb - Dock Tobin
  • Arthur O'Connell
    Arthur O'Connell - Sam Beasley
  • Jack Lord
    Jack Lord - Coaley
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