Sarah Ramirez (Jones) and her husband Miguel (Eduardo Noriega) have come to the New Mexico town of Sweetwater seeking a better life. Instead they find death and depravity. After burying Miguel in the desert sand, she begins taking her Sweet Vengeance.
The fanatical preacher Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs) rules over Sweetwater. The town sheriff was bought off. One of Sarah’s few allies is the new sheriff (Ed Harris) who rides in and promptly thrashes the old sheriff in one of the funniest scenes in the movie.
, As envisioned by Logan and Noah Miller (who also act in the film), the plot is recycled from at least a dozen other Westerns and revenge movies. That isn’t a bad thing. There’s a certain satisfaction at having expectations met. Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead (1995) is another gun-slinging female avenger that comes to mind. The character isn’t going away any time soon (also see Britta Sjogren’s Redemption Trail (2013), so you’d better get used to her.
In Sweetwater, the visuals are the key. With veteran cinematographer Brad Shield, the Logans create a classic Western look. The brooding tone is enlivened with enough action to satisfy a Sam Peckinpah fan. On Mad Men, Betty Draper is only allowed to pick up a gun in fantasy sequences. Here, Jones’s Sarah makes it a reality. At the 2013 Mill Valley Film Festival, the Logan brothers described her as a trooper working under tough conditions. They also praised friend and mentor Harris who starred in their first feature, Touching Home (2008). In that one, he was an alcoholic ex-baseball player. He’s nearly unrecognizable as Sweetwater‘s Sheriff Jackson, who may or may not be worthy of Sarah’s trust.