This modern-day psychological Western concerns unfulfilled, resentful Texas rancher Hud Bannon (Newman), and his uneasy relationships with distant, steely father Homer (Douglas), sexy, weathered housekeeper Alma (Neal), and impressionable nephew Lon (de Wilde). Keeping everyone at arm's length, "Hud" believes in looking out for himself alone, even when events at the ranch take a turn for the worse.
Strikingly photographed by James Wong Howe, Martin Ritt's uncompromising anti-hero Western broke new ground for a genre which, in the early '60s, was still stuck in tired old conventions. The movie endures due to Newman's brilliant lead performance as "Hud," an arrested adolescent in a man's body. All the acting is excellent, especially Oscar winners Patricia Neal as the sad, sensuous Alma, and Douglas as the leathery, principled father. Finally, Newman's ability to inject pathos into such a cynical, unsympathetic character speaks volumes about his own talent. A spare and powerful film.