The Searchers may be the greatest western ever made, though some might argue for a later western -- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, perhaps. Regardless, it would be hard to argue that The Searchers doesn't ideally realize the genre's highest aspirations: heroic characters, epic scope, stirring drama, exciting action, and awe-inspiring beauty.
Is The Searchers the greatest film score Max Steiner ever composed? Probably not. Steiner had composed greater film scores -- Gone With The Wind -- and greater western film scores -- They Died With Their Boots On -- and few would argue that his score for The Searchers is in their class. But it is a magnificent score nonetheless. The monumental themes, evocative harmonies, rousing rhythms, gripping developments, screaming climaxes, and the unforgettable main title are wonderful accompaniments for what's on the screen. It's even fairly impressive on its own as a sequence of highly effective cues.
Steiner's conducting is passionate but professional. Warner Brothers' recording from 1955 and 1956 is hard but vivid. The inclusion of the Sons of the Pioneer's quietly moving performance of the main theme is very welcome. The inclusion of Danny Knight's hyperbolically expressive performance of the main theme is not.