The Night They Came Home Review: A Disjointed and Bland Western

The Night They Came Home (2024).

As a voracious consumer of both Western thrillers and general film noir, I embarked on watching The Night They Came Home, with hopeful anticipation. This feature, directed by Paul G. Volk, promised a gritty drama that blends traditional Old West themes with a racially aware narrative centered around a US Marshall partnering with Native Americans to bring down the notorious Rufus Buck Gang. Regrettably, what the film delivered instead was a lackluster medley of squandered potential, frustrating stereotypes, and plodding pacing that bore more resemblance to an insomniac’s nightmare than a captivating cinematic endeavor.

The Good:

The concept offered potential; a gang run amok in Indian Territory, with unlikely allies joining forces to bring them to justice. Despite this fertile groundwork, the storyline seemed woefully underserved by the clunky dialogue written by John A. Russo and James O’Brien. Every conversation was brimming with predictable lines and stilted exchanges that drained any modicum of authenticity from the characters and left viewers feeling as if they were languishing in the parched landscapes of the Old West.

The Bad:

Then comes the cast ensemble. Brian Austin Green is well cast but feels almost trapped by the weak screenplay, with little room to maneuver into any profound depth of character. Meanwhile, the character Rufus Buck, portrayed by Charlie Townsend, remains flatter than a desert plain. Instead of embodying the charismatic, commanding aura essential to portray such a character, he lumbers across the screen, stilted and monochromatic.

Danny Trejo, usually a joy to watch for his brooding and electric presence, seemed inexplicably shackled in his role as Digger. Known for his kinetic energy, Trejo was essentially reduced to playing second fiddle, his potential brutally restrained. In stark contrast, Robert Carradine overdid the theatrics, converting what should’ve been a stalwart, endearing character into a hammed-up caricature.

Even the cinematography failed to salvage what little redeemable qualities The Night They Came Home had. The film’s scenes lacked artistic depth and failed to capture the expansive landscapes typically seen in Western thrillers.

Inclusion of Native Americans had the potential to elevate the storyline to higher narrative complexities and contribute meaningful social commentary, but this was just another opportunity overlooked by the creators. Stereotypes flowed freely with every reference, pushing an otherwise well-intended subplot into offensive territory, thus managing to undo what could’ve been an insightful exploration of racial alliances in a lawless land.

Similarly, the background score didn’t elevate the viewing experience. The intervention of the narrative can be disruptive during important scenes. It takes away from the already weak storyline instead of enhancing immersion.


The Night They Came Home promised an exciting tale of partnerships, adventure, and morality against a rugged Old West backdrop. The promise remains unfulfilled, which leads to unoriginal dialogue, wastes talent, and leaves potential unmet, resulting in a disappointing viewing experience.

The filmmaking team missed chances to improve their film, which could have turned it into a remarkable Western thriller. It was a weak attempt, especially considering the fascinating historical backdrop it clumsily aimed to depict.

Comment with Facebook
The Night They Came Home Review: A Disjointed and Bland Western
  • Acting - 4/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 3/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 2/10
  • Setting/Theme - 3/10
  • Watchability - 2/10
  • Rewatchability - 2/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)

About Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and journalist as well as the author of While You Sleep, The Inspiring World of Horror: The Movies That Influenced Generations, and co-author of Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters. He has been writing in the entertainment industry for over seven and a half years professionally. Throughout the years, he has written articles for publications including Gold Derby, Exclaim!, CBR, Awards Radar, Awards Watch, Flickering Myth, BRWC, Starburst Magazine, Punch Drunk Critics, Mediaversity Reviews, Vinyl Chapters, Northern Transmissions, and Beats Per Minute.