Yes, Austria. Not Australia.
But Austria has winters, too. Tough winters, like in Wyoming. And mountains like in Montana. Valleys like in Yosemite.
And reclusive communities deep in those mountain valleys who don’t warm to strangers.
The Dark Valley was actually filmed in South Tyrol, now in Italy, but it was part of the Austrian Empire at the end of the 19th century, when the movie is set, and people there still speak primarily German today. But more importantly, the landscape, the weather and the cinematography are perfect.
So is the acting, the scant dialogue (having the main character come to Austria from the USA is a good explanation for his sparing use of words), the editing, everything. What director Andreas Prochaska has pulled off is better than some Tarantino movies, for example his rather disappointing last Western, The Hateful 8. Without gory violence, without shrill characters and without tedious banter, Prochaska has created one of the best Western movies in recent years. It was the Austrian submission for foreign-language Academy Award in 2014, and I have no idea why it did not make it into the final round.
Highly recommended to any fan of Western movies!
If you don’t mind the subtitles, I recommend the original version (there is not too much dialogue anyway, link to DVD and Amazon video). Alternatively, there is a dubbed version in English (link to DVD and Amazon video).