[It's] perhaps the director's most underrated film.. The film is at first glance a rather anomalous one for a director primarily known for brutal westerns. While this is a much more intimate film, however, focusing as it does on the more internalized conflicts of family life, there's a thematic link to Peckinpah's more overtly historical epics—namely, how it operates as an ode to a fading moment, a disappearing epoch, an ephemeral time.
A devastating family drama containing Ida Lupino’s last great performance, and a trove of beautifully sculpted scenes.
The film's aching, tender poignancy often hits you on the rebound, as the anecdotes are structured so as to appear tangential, merging docudramatic detail of Prescott with the subtle mythologizing of the performances. When Ace and Junior finally meet up again, after just barely missing each other earlier in the film, Junior jumps up on the horse his father's riding (which is Junior's horse) and gives pop a pat on the back. The familiarity of this gesture . . . is beautiful and heartbreaking.