The Oldest Posse Image

The Oldest Posse

By Bobby LePire | May 5, 2023

Brett William Mauser’s The Oldest Posse was filmed in the historic Mescal Movie set in Benson, Arizona. The added production value is instantly seen on screen, as the old-school western is the filmmaker’s best-looking film. The sets sprawl well outside the frame, while the cinematography wonderfully captures the barren landscape’s natural beauty. Did the writer-director-editor-producer concoct a story that is up to the same standards as the lush visuals?

Marshal (Sergio Cantu) is a bounty hunter undertaking his most harrowing journey yet. To that end, he recruits several trusted gunslingers to form a posse and aid in his personal quest. These people include his dear friend Grant (Jake Jecmenek), the hard-up Walker (Craig Rainey), Native tracker Fire Cloud (KeeKee Suki), and Foster (Christopher Henry). After visiting a former lawman-turned-preacher for guidance and perspective, the posse rides out.

Their bounty is the shrewd and savage Samuel (Michael Burger Song), a notorious outlaw who just so happens to be Marshal’s son. Samuel’s gang is wanted for several things, including robbery and murder. They venture deep into Native American territory, hoping it will scare away the lawmen hot on their trail. Will Marshal be able to bring in his own flesh and blood, or will the journey prove too taxing on this elderly but capable gunners?

“…bounty hunter undertaking his most harrowing journey…”

The Oldest Posse is a love letter to the westerns of yesteryear, not the (very valid) deconstructions of them that have buoyed the genre into profound territory in recent years. Rather Mauser aims for something akin to The Searchers or Dodge City. The filmmaker is successful in that regard, making a feature that captures the feeling of those titles without the more problematic attitudes of those eras (mostly). That isn’t to imply he doesn’t include any deeper themes, as what it means to be a good parent, nature versus nurture, and the effects of aging are all discussed.

It could be argued that they are discussed a little too much, as the pacing is uneven. The wordless opening (lasting several minutes) is perfect. The setting sweeps viewers in; the actors sell the intensity of their stand-off via body language, while the score drives the momentum. Then there’s a lot of talking about how and why Marshal must be the one to go after Samuel. It is a good 20 to 30 minutes before the next setpiece, which is followed by more conversations. Happily, the various shootouts and fights are exciting, and the dialogue is pretty good. Still, a tighter rhythm in the editing may have kept the tension and fun going even stronger without sacrificing the characterizations and drama.

Still, The Oldest Posse is a fun love letter to one of the most popular genres of the early days of cinema. The actors are great, and the ending is both sad and happy at the same time. Plus, Brett William Mauser is improving his skills with each title he puts out. Film Threat gets great pleasure from championing independent filmmakers, and it doesn’t get more indie than Mauser’s no-budget approach. It also doesn’t get any cooler than watching a director get more confident in his craft and helping spread the word about his movies.

For more information about The Oldest Posse, visit the Not So Sane website.

The Oldest Posse (2023)

Directed and Written: Brett William Mauser

Starring: Sergio Cantu, Jake Jecmenek, Craig Rainey, KeeKee Suki, Christopher Henry, Michael Burger Song, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Oldest Posse Image

"…it doesn't get more indie than Mauser's no-budget approach."

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  1. Douglas Brown says:

    Just when I thought a good Western was hard to find. But all the brain work that went into this really amazes me and that’s not easy to do

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