Haunting Neo-Noir Western Adapted for Exciting New Film

Ever wonder what Silence of the Lambs would look like if Clarice was a troubled male deputy in Montana and Hannibal was an evasive serial killer on death row? Read on to learn about The Ploughmen and why you may be interested in its brand-new adaptation.

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A landscape style image of a sunset with the cover of Kim Zupan's book The Ploughmen. The cover of the book is white, depicting a farm covered in snow with a tree and two cows. It says "The Ploughmen" and underneath it it says "A Novel" and "Kim Zupan".

Kim Zupan’s neo-noir western novel The Ploughmen is set to shoot its very first adaptation, helmed by Academy Award nominee Ed Harris. Only his third directorial adventure, the Apollo 13 star, has managed to acquire extraordinary actors to head his project, featuring Nick Nolte, Owen Teague, and even Bill Murray. Let’s take a look at this remarkable novel and why its adaptation isn’t one to miss.

Zupan’s Bone-Chilling Debut Novel

Zupan’s The Ploughmen reflects the extreme circumstances in which two people can be bonded for life. When convicted murderer John Gload strikes up a relationship with hardened Montana deputy Valentine Millimaki, the two cement themselves as permanent fixations in each other’s lives. The dark and chilling Montana landscape provides the perfect backdrop for the two men’s suspenseful relationship, praised as both “liberating” and “harrowing.” This is a must-read for everyone looking for a dark and poignant debut or for those who want to prepare for the upcoming film adaptation.

While pretty similar to the story of Silence of the Lambs, the novel’s themes investigate the relationship between the two men rather than the one-sided attempted manipulation present in Silence of the Lambs. It also explores the harsh Montana nature as a central theme, contributing to the chilling environment of the novel. The adaptation hopes to keep the psychological tension of the original novel while displaying the acting talent of Nolte (Gload) and Teague (Millimaki) and the neo-noir western theme.

Featured Actors

Nick Nolte can be seen in acclaimed movies and television such as Cape Fear and The Mandalorian, whose serious roles will lend him the upper hand when playing a death-row criminal. Owen Teague, a much younger actor, has landed less major roles (excepting the lead ape in 2024 movie Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes) but his performance in IT left no questions about his acting prowess.

An ape looking slightly off to the right, mouth slightly open like he is about to speak. He is wearing an arm band and a woven strap to what looks like a bag. This image is from the movie Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.
IMAGE VIA 20TH CENTURY STUDIOS

Make sure you catch this movie when it releases! A film adaptation of The Ploughmen is sure to turn heads and lead others to discover Zupan’s original masterpiece.


Interested in more westerns? Check out our article on the Lesbian Western genre!

For more book-to-film adaptations, take a look at our bookshelf of adapted books.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / ELIZABETH BEAVER