Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker
Appaloosa with Ed Harris
Appaloosa is about Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two lawmen, who are asked to come to Appaloosa to get rid of Bragg who is taking over the town.
And the movie is about exactly the same thing.
But it is about more than the fight against Bragg, it is also about the kind of men that these two friends are and about their friendship as well. The way the two play off of each other can be hilarious at times but the story has a tragic side too. There is the worry for the heroes when it looks like the bad guy has gotten the upper hand. There is the exasperation at Cole who seems bent on things that are not good for him. There is the genuine caring for these two good guys and their quiet but certain friendship. The villain is slimy, the heroes nice guys the town’s people interesting and the love interest convoluted to say the least. I liked it a lot.
And I can say the same thing about the movie as well. It did a good job of capturing the feel of the book and the characters. Much of the dialogue is taken word for word from the book. There are no scenes when you are wondering where that was in the book. There are no new characters that you have to wonder where they came from (mostly anyway). The witness against Bragg is a different person in the movie than in the book but that is really the only change in cast that you see. There are a few scenes that didn’t make it to the movie. But most of them you really don’t miss. They are things are along the lines of Hitch has a conversation with someone and tells Cole about it later and in the book you see both the original conversation and the one with Cole and in the movie you only see Hitch talking to Cole. And although the scenes do not feel redundant in the book you can surmise enough from the second conversation that you don’t even know anything is missing. In all it is a very faithful book to movie conversion.
I would have a hard time trying to say which I liked better. So I’m going to pronounce this one a tie. I saw the movie first so I had the actors in my head as I read but in this case I was okay with that. If you want to make up your own mind about what people look and sound like than you should obviously read the book first. But I don’t think you will be disappointed in either of them no matter what order you choose.