The Curator of Schlock #410 by Jeff Shuster

The Old Way

A Nic Cage Western

I had spent the better part of the day grinding fentanyl tablets into a fine powder while wearing a gas mask. If I hadn’t known any better, I’d have thought I was involved in illegal activity, but there’s such a thing as street law, you know. The vigilante has his own code and if I had any hope of getting my museum back from a bunch of hoodlums, I had to help the Revenging Manta’s crazy scheme. We ordered some Papa Johns. The ninja sharpened his sword as I finished the last slice of stuffed crust. In two hours, we would reclaim the Museum of Schlock or die trying. — To be continued. 


This week’s movie is 2023’s The Old Way from director Brett Donowho and will you look at that poster? You’ve got Nic Cage wearing a cowboy hat. That doesn’t sell you? What more do you need in a movie? This is the first time in Nic Cage’s long career that he’s starred in a western, but don’t expect a singing cowboy flick. This is a violent affair.

The movie starts out with a public hanging gone wrong. A young boy named James is looking on as his father is about to get executed. The father tells the boy to go back home, but the mayor of the town wants young James to watch his father die, saying it will make him learn his place. Right as the man is about to be hanged, a shoot out commences and we’re introduced to Colton Briggs, a gun for hire after Walter McAllister, infamous bandit and the brother of the man  about to be hanged. Turns out the execution was all about dragging this bandit out of hiding. Walter gets shot dead. So does the mayor. Colton has no interest in killing Walter McAllister’s brother, but shoots him when he turns a gun on him. He then turns his sights on the little boy, almost squeezing the trigger, but refrains and rides off.

Fast forward twenty years and Colton is a married shop owner with a young daughter to boot. He’s given up his violent life of hunting down bandits to raise a family and be an upstanding member of his community. Colton even walks his daughter to school, but takes her to work with him instead as the teacher is out sick. Colton patiently listens to customers talk about outhouse issues while his daughter methodically separates each and every jelly bean by color. Meanwhile, things are not so good back at the homestead as Colton’s wife has to contend with four escaped prisoners on the run from the law. 

The leader of this gang is a young man named James McAllister (Noah Le Gros), the very same James that Colton didn’t shoot at the beginning of the movie. He kills Colton’s wife, Ruth (Kerry Knuppe), in an effort to taunt Colton into chasing him down to Mexico. The U.S. Marshall tells Colton to leave it to them to find the McAllister gang, but we know that isn’t going to happen. We know that Colton will see this through to a bloody finale with daughter in tow.

Did I mention that Clint Howard plays a member of this McAllister gang? He plays a guy named Eustace and he dons an old Confederate uniform. You guys lost the war. It’s 1898! Give it up already!


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495episode 496episode 545episode 546episode 547episode 548, and episode 549) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.