Support Filmtracks! Click here first:
iTunes (U.S.)
eBay (U.S.)
This Week's Most Popular Reviews:
   1. Romeo & Juliet
   2. Hobbit: Unexpected Journey
   3. The Phantom of the Opera
   4. Lady in the Water
   5. Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone
   6. Moulin Rouge
   7. Gladiator
   8. Titanic
   9. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
   10. Thor: The Dark World
Newest Major Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
   1. Chappie
   2. Fifty Shades of Grey
   3. Night/Museum: Secret/Tomb
   4. The Imitation Game
   5. Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies
   1. Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
   2. City of Ember
   3. Jack the Giant Slayer
   4. Indiana Jones Collection
   5. King Kong Lives
Section Header
All the Pretty Horses
Co-Composed and Produced by:
Marty Stuart

Co-Composed and Co-Orchestrated by:
Kristin Wilkinson

Co-Composed by:
Larry Paxton

Conducted by:
Suzie Katayama

Co-Orchestrated by:
Chris McDonald

Sony Classical

Release Date:
January 9th, 2001

Also See:
The Hi-Lo Country
3:10 to Yuma
Old Gringo
The Tailor of Panama

Audio Clips:
3. All the Pretty Horses (0:32):
WMA (211K)  MP3 (262K)
Real Audio (163K)

11. Strawberry Tango (0:34):
WMA (220K)  MP3 (274K)
Real Audio (170K)

17. My Last Days on Earth (0:33):
WMA (215K)  MP3 (267K)
Real Audio (166K)

23. Cowboy's Dream (Medley) (0:37):
WMA (243K)  MP3 (305K)
Real Audio (189K)

Regular U.S. release.

  Nominated for a Golden Globe.

All the Pretty Horses

•  Printer Friendly Version
List Price: $8.99
Our Price: $8.69
You Save: $0.30 ( 3%)
Used Price: $0.01

Sales Rank: 101273

Buy from

or read more reviews and hear more audio clips at

  Compare Prices:
eBay Stores
(new and used)
(new and used)

  Find it Used:
Check for used copies of this album in the:

Soundtrack Section at eBay

(including eBay Stores and listings)

Buy it... if you seek the best that the modern country genre of music has to offer the traditions of Western movie music.

Avoid it... if twangy guitars and stereotypical genre progressions and rhythms don't meet the standard of excellence in Western scores that was established with fuller orchestral ensembles of decades prior.

All the Pretty Horses: (Marty Stuart/Kristin Wilkinson/Larry Paxton) In an attempt to resurrect the Western genre for the 2000's, Billy Bob Thornton directed what was intended to be a much longer film than Miramax would allow. After trimming no less than two hours of footage from All the Pretty Horses, Thornton's finished product was extremely light on character development and continuity. Set in the 1940's and 50's, the story (based upon Cormac McCarthy's novel) follows a group of American horse thieves and their encounters with love and the law on both sides of the Mexican border. The film's success was tied only to the duration of Miramax's promotional campaign for it, and after tepid audience responses, the thin romanticism of All the Pretty Horses failed to hold its weight. That didn't stop the film's soundtrack from making a few popular waves, including a "best score" nomination for a Golden Globe award. After a relatively uneventful year for film scores (aside from Gladiator, of course), All the Pretty Horses stood out with obvious distinction. It had been a while since the film score community had been hit with a full-blooded Western, and it had been a very long time since a group of country music artists were the ones to accomplish that feat. Given the name recognition of the composers for this score in their native country western genre, it's no wonder that some as novel as this could drum up a Globe nomination. Heading the effort to bring the sensibilities of Western film music into the 20th Century was Marty Stuart, the Grammy-winning songwriter, performer, and theatrical composer best known for his album Hillbilly Rock in 1989. No less capable are the other artists who co-composed All the Pretty Horses; both Kristin Wilkinson and Larry Paxton had already established themselves as experienced songwriters and performers with famous orchestral and country performing groups. All three had arranged and composed melodies and incidental accompaniment for many of the country scene's top recording artists.

But, you ask, can they produce an effective film score for a major feature film? Your reservations about well-known artists from other genres stepping onto the scoring stage (whether from country, classical, or another area of music) will be confirmed by the simple fact that Stuart and his associates don't really attempt to step far outside of their comfort zone for this assignment. Much of it indeed plays like the instrumental background material for a country western vocal collection. But for the environment of All the Pretty Horses, obviously a step removed from the era of topics often scored by Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith, the hiring of Stuart to coordinate this effort can easily be classified as successful. Not only is the finished musical product for the film functional within the genre, but the modern sensibilities inherent in the country genre's influence on the music are quite refreshing compared to the tired attempts by other composers to mimic either one of the composers mentioned above or Ennio Morricone. Both this score and Marco Beltrami's 3:10 to Yuma in 2007 prove that the genre still has some fresh new angles to explore in its music. Granted, some of the structures used by Stuart in All the Pretty Horses hail back to the chord progressions and rhythmic devices of classic Western scores. But those standards are never abused here, and the instrumentation (and the attitude of the performances specifically) breathe new life into those old ideas. There are stylistic influences of Dimitri Tiomkin's Gunfight at the OK Corral mingled with Lee Holdridge's Old Gringo, and many of the spicy moments of ethnic flavor indeed bring back memories of the Morricone Westerns for which his career was once famous. The active rhythms are likewise reminiscent of the prancing beats of renown Bernstein Western themes as well. Whether relying upon the taping of the tambourine or the excess of twangy guitars, there is a positive spirit about All the Pretty Horses that strikes an infectious chord that seldom exists in this genre.

The two primary themes of the score, performed in some circumstances by Stuart himself, are pleasing compositions for guitars and a well balanced orchestral accompaniment. The ideas, offered in succession in "Cowboy's Dream" and "All the Pretty Horses," are merged into an outstanding summary medley at the end of the album for the score. Structurally, the themes are simple, drawing on stereotypical progressions from both the country genre and Western standards of the past, but their flowing elegance in their full performances compensates for the ills of their predictability in form and instrumentation. The songwriting tendencies of the composers are easily heard in the extended multiple presentations of the themes' phrases. While these themes' spotlight performances only occupy about 10 to 12 minutes of the entire score, they dominate its every aspect. The remaining 30 minutes of music were best described by one industry insider as "cinematic country minimalism." An acoustic guitar and its usual accompaniment of bass and percussion are almost always present during the score, with an orchestra consisting of moderate string and brass sections weaving in and out when needed. While there are extended sequences of slightly audible, rather unexciting meandering that begins on the album at "After the Rain," there are also singular cues of Latin flavor that are very tastefully performed by trumpets (unlike the stereotypical, drunken trumpets that often blasted away when portraying Mexicans in Alex North scores). The delightful "Strawberry Tango" is a playful twist on that ethnic half of the score, including castanet and hand-clapping accents on top of spirited guitar rhythms that remind of the highlights of both Rachel Portman's Chocolat and Shaun Davey's The Tailor of Panama from roughly the same period of time. A softer variant on this ethnicity is heard in the form of a hidden track at the end of the product (after a minute of silence); rumor had it that this recording was originally going to be a separate track called "El Buxbombed," still to be heard at the conclusion of the album.

Learn about

A third theme for the score, titled "Far Away," represents the love story in All the Pretty Horses and is featured in two heartbreaking score tracks outside of its soft song performance by Stuart, which increased the product's marketability to straight country listeners. Perhaps the most admirable and impressive attribute of the music for this film is its consistency in tone. A number of the tracks in the middle of the album were contributed to by other artists, and yet you'd never know it from the maintenance of such a consistent environment throughout. Only the electronic choir in "My Last Days on Earth/What's it Like to be Dead?" stands out as different, though it's a welcome surprise. In these regards, the collective effort of Stuart, Wilkinson, and Paxton (who not only composed the score, but performed it as well) is simply remarkable. They managed to not only slightly alter their comfort zone for the film, but they did so in an ultimate team effort that worked. The final mix of the recording needs praise; despite the infusion of the rich string and brass contributions, the soloists at the heart of the ensemble prevail in a bass-heavy environment. All of this said, however, it's difficult to recommend All the Pretty Horses to every traditional film score collector unconditionally. No matter your musical tastes, you will enjoy the title themes performed at the beginning and end of the album, but it cannot be guaranteed that every one of you will appreciate the minimalistic country-styled music in between. The score's greatest weakness is indeed its somewhat poor handling of the more sinister moments of the story, failing to evoke enough fear or uncertainty when needed. Still, for those who consider the swinging title theme for Carter Burwell's related The Hi-Lo Country to be a guilty pleasure, this score is not only elegant in its tribute to classic Western film score motifs, but its instrumentation is contemporary enough to distinguish itself as an adaptation of the concept for the 21st Century. Due to its ingenuity, consistency, and undeniable personality, All the Pretty Horses is one of the best scores of 2000, a relaxing and refreshing experience in its most addictive fifteen or so minutes. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.52 Stars
Smart Average: 3.39 Stars*
***** 392 
**** 407 
*** 453 
** 142 
* 124 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Song - Red River Valley
  Dakota -- 10/9/12 (5:21 p.m.)
   Exellent score, Excellent album! *NM*
  Kevin Smith -- 3/14/10 (11:02 a.m.)
   Re: Lyrics for "Far Away"?
  clifton kane -- 2/10/06 (8:26 p.m.)
   All the pretty horses
  Eli -- 9/7/05 (2:37 p.m.)
   Re: Song in Trailer
  Nitha -- 8/15/05 (1:26 a.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 48:56

• 1. Cowboy's Dream (1:17)
• 2. Canyon Sonata (1:16)
• 3. All the Pretty Horses (1:10)
• 4. Purty Dad-Gum Good (1:16)
• 5. After the Rain (1:07)
• 6. Mild Cello Blues (1:24)
• 7. Malarki Opus in D Major (1:31)
• 8. John Grady's Angel (1:29)
• 9. Edge of the World (1:32)
• 10. Get my Boots (1:09)
• 11. Strawberry Tango (Parts 1 & 2) (4:16)
• 12. The King of Horses (1:29)
• 13. Far Away (Alejandra's Phone Call) (1:54)
• 14. Porque - performed by Raul Malo (3:04)
• 15. Waltz for Hope (3:10)
• 16. Ain't That a Drag (2:41)
• 17. My Last Days on Earth/What's it Like to be Dead? (1:53)
• 18. Long Journey Home (1:59)
• 19. Candles and Lies (0:53)
• 20. Rainy Room (1:59)
• 21. Far Away - performed by Marty Stuart (3:59)
• 22. Far Away (Reprise) (1:34)
• 23. Cowboy's Dream/All the Pretty Horses (Medley) (6:45)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes extensive credits, but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from All the Pretty Horses are Copyright © 2001, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/14/01 and last updated 1/31/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2001-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.