John Huston has a terse, sharp, downbeat but compassionate look at the underside of smalltown American life in the west, actually in central California in the town of Stockton.
It is about boxing, about failures, about part-time agricultural workers, but really about those who, in defeat, still have meaning. The allusion stems from the old American dream of another chance, a reward for trying and for triumph in competition. Huston has been blessed by a brilliantly dialogued script by Leonard Gardner from his own much-praised  novel.
Huston catches the feel of the community with a lean, no-nonsense economy, a hard-boiled but humanly alert feeling which raises the tale from a purely naturalistic lowlife depiction of the characters to make a statement on the life style of the drifters and those who accept a moderate place in the smalltown hierarchy.
1972: Nomination: Best Supp. Actress (Susan Tyrrell)