The Ballad of Cable Hogue rides on the charisma of the wonderful rapscallion Jason Robards as the titular character. Cable is a true pioneer, survivalist, and all-around loveable rouge. Robards carries Cable with a tenderness that seems to touch all those around him, making the unrelenting sands of the desert seem warm and inviting.
However, our other characters are vague representations of the word. Stella Stevens' Hildy is an excuse for Stevens to reveal her body at any given occasion. meanwhile, David Warner's Joshua is unexplainably sinister. He is a creepy sex-pest creep which in the 70s may have come off as funny. Nowadays, it is a painfully familiar stereotype that stings with truth.
The film isn't painful. It's a bit of a slog at two hours but Robards brings a wonderful sentimentality to the piece which is immensely effective when we have a juxtaposition between the old and the new West.