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In the company of his wife Kay and Andy Folson, their guide, Richard Damian ventures on horseback into the desert with a view to locating a manganese mine he intends to buy. Unable to bear the rigors of travel, Richard has a violent altercation with Kay. Frightened, his horse rears up and makes him fall into a ravine. Richard, who realizes his leg is broken, asks for help but Kay and Andy decide to abandon him to his fate... Written by
Decent made-for-TV flick about a rich husband (Arthur Hill) who goes out into the desert with his wife (Diana Muldaur) and a guide (James Stacy) trying to find a certain location he might be buying. The abusive and hard-headed husband ends up falling down a cliff and breaking his leg. The wife and guide go to get help but she talks him into letting her husband die so that they can keep his money. The only problem is that he realizes what they're up to when no one comes back for him so he plans on making it out by himself. ORDEAL has a lot of silly stuff in it and it goes on a bit too long even at just 88-minutes but there's enough entertainment here to make it worth viewing as long as you don't go in expecting too much. One of the biggest flaws in the story is how the rich man ends up out in the desert on his own. He pretty much refuses to go with the wife and guide after he's injured and instead wants to stay out there by himself until they can get help back to him. Considering how he's been rich all of his life and never been out in the wild I had a hard time believing he would do this. Once you get past that the story clears out a little better and we get some nice scenes. I was shocked to see how much more I preferred the story happening outside the desert. The film cuts back and forth to what the husband is doing to what the wife and guide are doing. I thought the stuff between the wife and guide was actually more entertaining as the two begin to fear that the husband might not be dead and how they might have to change their plans. The stuff in the desert is nice as well since we get some great visuals. I think some people, myself included, are going to have a hard time believing what all the husband does considering his background but after a while you just get caught up in the story and go with it. The performances are a major plus with Hill doing a terrific job showing how desperate the man is. I thought he was very good in the scenes dealing with his hatred towards the wife as well as him struggling to survive. Muldaur is also quite good and perfectly gets across her spoiled side. This would turn out to be Stacy's final film before a drunk driver would hit him while he was riding his motorcycle and ripping off his left arm and leg. He actually turns in the best performance here and really makes you believe the tension his character starts to feel as things don't go as planned. It seems like the 70s delivered just about every type of storyline when it came to made-for-TV movies and this one here is a bit far-fetched at times but there's enough going on here to make it worth viewing.
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