“Let Him Go” is a new movie with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. It was written and directed by Thomas Bezucha, based on a 2013 novel by Larry Watson. The setting is Montana and North Dakota in 1964.

The time was chosen because of the movie’s civil rights angle, the mistreatment of American Indian children by the authorities, although the example would make more sense if associated with Canada and the 1990s. That was when our northern neighbors were still taking Ojibwe kids away from their parents so that they would grow up more “Canadian.”

But that business is really there to provide another instance of a child taken away from his family by evil outsiders. More interesting and significant is the nature of the evil associated with the child stealers in the main story — the terrifying network of Weboys.

The first Weboy we meet is the one who marries the widowed daughter-in-law of the Blackledges, retired Big Sky country sheriff George (Costner, who does some acting here) and stubborn and sentimental Margaret (Lane). Soon after the wedding, the new Weboy family flits back to North Dakota.

Margaret has seen the new hubby cuff his new wife and her 3-year-old boy, so she is unhappy when they leave suddenly without saying goodbye. George goes along with her when she takes off to find young Jimmy, her grandson.

Old cop associates help the older couple to find the right town. They approach a Weboy (played by “Burn Notice’s” Jeffrey Donovan) who takes them out to a strangely tense dinner at the family’s seat, a big old farmhouse suitable for placing up the hill from the motel in “Psycho.”

Why are things at the meal tense? Well, we’ve heard that the Weboys are grudge-holders, and we’ve seen how effective their invisible spy network is. In this scene, the first full scene in the movie (and almost an hour in from the opening), we hear the family’s grand dame list all the tragedies that have befallen the Dakota Weboys.

It’s an impressive list. Probably too much. But it doesn’t explain why they are so wary. Or why they are anxious to undertake the sort of confrontation they get into with George and Margaret at this film’s motel, a little later. Nothing explains their willingness to risk everything by permanently harming the old sheriff.

Then, too, the movie has a few speechless flashbacks, about half of them concerning the humane killing of Margaret’s ancient horse, many years before. These are there to explain something that happens late in the film, something the story could have done without.

This sort of over-reaching and the long stretches of speechless filming all help to keep the movie from being consistently interesting. But the show’s main fault is the lack of motivation for the Weboy clan. Bond villains always have stronger reasons for their actions than do the Weboys here.

But the film is not without its attractions. It has a pretty strong point of view {span}— {/span}almost everything that happens does so where Margaret can see or hear it. Costner is strong. The period details are interesting.

So moviegoers hungry for more contemporary West entertainments will probably find that “Let Him Go” scratches their itch.

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