An ambitious attempt to push the Western in bold new directions, Major Dundee is a fascinating bridge between the nostalgic mythmaking of the studio era and the nihilistic fury that would emerge full force in The Wild Bunch. Charlton Heston delivers a commanding performance as an obsessive Civil War–era Union cavalry officer who drags a ragtag group of recruits—including a band of unwitting Confederate prisoners—on a doomed journey through Mexico in single-minded pursuit of an Apache warrior. Famously compromised by producer interference that left key footage on the cutting-room floor, Major Dundee languished for decades as one of film history’s great “what-ifs?” until a 2005 restoration brought it closer than ever to Peckinpah’s majestic original vision.