I guess I wasn't expecting much from this, although I knew it was regarded as something of a classic in the Western genre. It's managed to leap into my top ten Westerns list on first watch: a really fine movie.
One of Anthony Perkins' first major roles, he plays new sheriff Ben Owens. Bounty hunter Morgan Hickman (Henry Fonda) rides into town with the corpse of a criminal dangling over his pack horse. The townsfolk are displeased by the presence of this unsavory character, but Owens sees a role model when he finds out that Hickman used to be a sheriff. So while Hickman waits on the bounty payment, he also gives Owens sheriffing lessons.
Fonda and Perkins are both good in the leads, but I think the things I liked best was the plot's easy and complete avoidance of clichés (except perhaps for Bogardus as the bad guy). It moves along beautifully on often unexpected story lines: something of a treasure after a couple months without seeing a really good movie that was new to me.