In a Valley of Violence is only the second time that Ti West has directed a non-horror movie. However, there is a dark and humorous heart beating at the center of this Blumhouse Productions film. From the revenge theme to the insanely effective Jeff Grace score to the gory visuals, this is an absolute treat.
The story isn’t a complex one. Ethan Hawke plays Paul, a mysterious drifter who’s heading for Mexico with his dog through the deserts of the Wild West. But things go wrong when he decides to take a shortcut through Denton, a former mining town on its knees and dubbed the titular Valley of Violence. Marshal Clyde Martin, played by John Travolta, runs the place with his band of violent goons which includes his son, Gilly, played by a moderately hammy James Ransone. Paul makes something of an impact on the place and then leaves, but that’s not the end of it for Gilly who decides to take matters into his own hands, attacking Paul at night, killing his dog and leaving the drifter for dead. That’s a big mistake that they live, for a little while, to regret.