Compared to the studio western the visual realisation of the 1880s was greatly superior. In particular, Renee Zellweger as the Femme Fatale was lauded on all sides as well groomed and sophisticated, but in fact looked a bit rough and ready, which I thought was a nice touch. She wasn't plastered in anachronistic Max Factor like the ladies in the older films. Also the wide open spaces were starkly and beautifully filmed.
There were good performances from Zellweger, Ed Harris, and Vigo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons, and smaller roles played by Timothy Spall and Lance Henrikson. So high class acting all round. Zellweger played a bit of a wild girl, loveable but utterly faithless, you couldn't help liking her. Ed Harris, who wrote and directed, tends to be quite generous to the women he plays against, I feel.