In the wilds of Montana Jack McKee (Jeff Bridges) and Cecil Colson (Sam Waterston) roam around in their pickup truck every once in a while shooting and slaughtering an animal belonging to ranch owner John Brown (Clifton James) in order to pay their way and enjoy the easy life they lead. But of course John Brown is not going to let his cattle be rustled that easily and when his ranch hands, Burt (Richard Bright) and Curt (Harry Dean Stanton) prove to be inept when it comes to catching the rustlers he persuades for rustler Henry Beige (Slim Pickens) to come out of retirement to catch the thieves.
Well I guess you needed to be there at the time to enjoy "Rancho Deluxe" as watching this 70s western comedy 40 years later I found myself wondering as to what it was that others saw in it. On paper I can see how it would work with two slacker cowboys who are likeable due to their comically lazy nature always staying one step ahead of the blustering rancher they are stealing from, if you like a more contemporary take on Butch & Sundance with are two likeable bad boys only trying to get by doing as little as possible rather than lining their own pockets.
But the problem with "Rancho Deluxe" is its swinging tone because at times it tries to be funny at others a little more soulful but the end result is a movie which constantly under achieves with a tone which rarely is as funny as it thinks it is and even at times seems to away drift from even trying to be amusing. As such out of everything which happens in "Rancho Deluxe" the one thing which is memorable is a sex scene between Jeff Bridges and Patti D'Arbanville, a scene which I believe is only available in the uncut version of "Rancho Deluxe" with the two other versions having dropped it.
Now there is of course the fact "Rancho Deluxe" stars a few familiar faces such as Sam Waterston, Harry Dean Stanton as well as western legend Slim Pickens. But it is Jeff Bridges which of course now is the big draw and so for those who are fans as this it is another movie which shows how much he has changed as an actor over the years with some scenes here where he has to suddenly show rage ending up less than convincing.
What this all boils down to is that "Rancho Deluxe" is the sort of movie which would hold some rose tinted memories for those who saw it back in the 70s but watched now is a highly flawed movie with major issues when it comes to tone.