A wise man - probably Delaney - said that SF is fundamentally about understanding what it is to be human. I think Westerns are fundamentally about realising what death is. I suppose for that reason there is always this tendency for the last reel to veer off into that cod mysticism which marred Seraphim Falls. Not here.
Bradshaw, whose review tempted me to go to see 'Yuma' concluded 'For me, the ethical contest became muddled, and not obviously in the interests of complexity or ambiguity. It appeared to fudge the issue of precisely what sacrifices the good guys have to make if the bad guys are to be brought to book, and it began to look... as if the sacrifices endured by the virtuous did not even have the effect of defeating evil.' Well - Duh. That is the kind of mysticism I can get behind. Of course sacrifice is no guarantee - the alternative is banal. So, yes, the last half an hour departs decisively from realism, but not in a preachy way.
It's an interesting contrast with Seraphim Falls - less original in conception, in fact fairly derivative - offering a similar tour of the Wild West: Monument Valley, Chinese people building a railway, bullets being dug out of flesh, stolen horses, a failing ranch. But to a consistently tough and meaty effect.
So, a good film if you want a classy mainline Western with two grimy-looking beauties making googy eyes at each other. Which of course I do.
ETA - Alan Tudyk good as nice doctor chap, with - well, a certain deja vu.
ETA - Oh, and Ben Forster as Crowe's love-struck psycho sidekick was chilling and horrible, so I suppose an excellent performance