The Outside Circle: A Modern Western Journey

Director Craig Rullman’s ‘The Outside Circle: A Movie of the Modern West’ is a well-filmed documentary that offers a poignant exploration of the mythologies and realities of life in the American West. Through the lens of three remarkable stories, the film delves deep into the lives, trials, and successes of those living on the outskirts of mainstream America. The subject intrigued me since my father, now deceased, worked as a cowboy when I was young.

The documentary follows the lives of Len Babb, a lifelong buckaroo and accomplished western artist, the Murphy family, fifth-generation Oregon ranchers fighting to preserve their land and legacy, and Victoria Jackson, a Paiute-Shoshone rodeo champion whose family legacy in the Great Basin reaches back over 14,000 years. Together, their stories shed new light on the modern cowboy and the timeless values that continue to shape life in the Modern West.

With stunning cinematography and intimate storytelling, Rullman captures these families’ emotional struggles and triumphant moments as they navigate the rugged landscapes and remote corners of the West. From the challenges of preserving their heritage and traditions to the daily grind of life on the ranch, the film offers a compelling glimpse into the lives of those who call the Modern West home.

Through interviews and footage of daily life, The Outside Circle reveals the unique challenges faced by modern-day cowboys and their deep connection to the land. From the highs of a successful roundup to the lows of an unpredictable market, the film highlights these individuals’ resilience, resourcefulness, and unwavering commitment.

Currently screening on Amazon and clocking in at 77 minutes, ‘The Outside Circle’ is both interesting and engaging. It offers a captivating journey that sheds fresh light on the enduring legacy of the American Cowboy. With a compelling soundtrack by Adrian Brannan, Mike Biggers, Jim Cornelius, and Lili Worona, this documentary leaves a lasting impression, offering viewers a deeper understanding of the modern cowboy and the timeless values that continue to define life in the American West.  I feel certain my dad would have truly enjoyed ‘The Outside Circle’ as much as I did, making me wish he was here to watch it.

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