The opening stage sets the stage for Sergio Leone’s theatrical, consciously and deliberately constructed, even artificial masterpiece of a Western. It moves like molasses , constantly threatening to standstill yet always moving forward with propulsive energy. And it drags us with it, slowly but surely observing three nameless ghouls waiting, waiting, and waiting. For what? Well we’re waiting for that too, something that will arrive on a cue we don’t yet know will come and which will literally step foot onto Leone’s cinematic canvas. And Leone, ever the professional, seems to have planned his opening stroke for hours. It’s excruciating, a perfect reflection of the suspense of everyday life found in the Old West, the feeling that you were always waiting to kill someone or be killed, or both, but you never knew when or even why.