|Index||5 reviews in total|
'The Last Day' is the best dramatization of the Dalton Gang's attempt
to rob two banks at the same time on Oct. 5, 1892 in Coffeyville,
Kansas. Will Spence is a fictitious character. Spence brings in the
citizen aspect of rallying the local citizens to stop the bank robbery.
The citizens were the real defenders of the town. The made for TV show
does a good job of following the Dalton Gang to the climatic end. A few
other characters are fictitious as are some situations leading up to
the bank robbery.
Bill Kurtis is making a documentary for the series 'Investigating History' on the History Channel concerning the Dalton Gang. It is planned to be shown sometime in the fall of 2004.
Beginning about 1990 the community of Coffeyville, Kansas started commemorating the Dalton Gang's attempted bank robbery on a weekend closest to the Oct. 5th, 1892 anniversary. A reenactment is presented by local citizens of the attempted bank robbery. The original Condon Bank building still exists. There is a Dalton Museum a block from the bank.
The Last Day is directed by Vincent McEveety and collectively written
by Jim Byrnes, Steve Fisher and A.C. Lyles (Lyles also produces). It
stars Richard Widmark, Barbara Rush, Robert Conrad, Richard Jaeckel,
Tim Matheson, Christopher Connelly, Tom Skerritt Tom Skerritt and
Loretta Swit. Music is by Jerrold Immel and cinematography by Robert B.
Hauser. Harry Morgan narrates.
Film is about the events leading up to, and including, the Dalton Gang's attempted robbery of two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas, October 5th 1892. After some nifty opening credits that shift between whimsy and dramatic stills, pic settles into beefy characterisations, focusing on the three days before the robbery. Here we get to know the Dalton Gang members, their plotting, their peccadilloes, their goals, their loves and their egos (Bob Dalton wants to better Jesse James).
"Get yourself killed for a town that doesn't want you"?
Back in Coffeyville, retired gunfighter Will Spence (Widmark) is the key player. He has settled down with his wife Betty (Rush), but Bob Dalton (Conrad) wants Spence out the picture. As soon as the town gets wind that the Dalton's are nearby, they get in a tizzy and start to remind Spence of his past, thinking he's the cause of imminent danger. Again, we get to know the principal players here in town, with a grand old barn dust-up as a side-bar to raise the pulse.
Everything is gearing up towards the day of reckoning, the day that is famous in Western history. The actual events were recorded as 13 minutes, and give or take a minute, this filmic version is close to real time, and it's corking! The suspense of the robberies is coiled spring like, and then the carnage begins, shoot-outs galore, high grade stunts, every minute is well worth waiting for.
It asks you to be patient for its first hour, then it picks up a pace, then it delivers the goods with gunpowder on top. Yes there's messages here, and of course genre formula, but this is historically informative, exciting, and performed with skill by an impressive cast. File it under one of the better TV Westerns and see it if you can. 7/10
As has come down to us in western lore the infamous Dalton brothers and
associated outlaws came to a violent end in Coffeyville, Kansas when
they tried to rob two banks there at the same time. The Last Day is a
film by A.C. Lyles and is a fictionalized account of both the Daltons
and their plan for this last big score and the citizens of Coffeyville
and their response. The Daltons were from Coffeyville and they were
violating that well known maxim about defecation where you consume.
The brothers are played by Bob Conrad, Richard Jaeckel, and Tim Matheson and their two running buddies on that day are Tom Skerritt and Christophr Connelly. All of them are tried and true professional criminals, Skerritt with a drinking problem. Only Matheson as Emmett Dalton, the youngest is fairly new at the trade.
The forces of law and order are represented by former gunman Richard Widmark who has settled in Coffeyville with wife Barbara Rush and son Sparky Marcus. He has good reason to think the Daltons are planning a robbery here, but with his past against him can't quite convince the town.
The message here is the same as in classic films like El Dorado, let the professionals handle it. But the marshal is Gene Evans who is old and worn and Widmark is the only one who has experience in these situations albeit from the other end. His past as a gunfighter works against him, especially with one of the bank presidents Logan Ramsey. Ramsey usually plays hateful people and you will hate him even with him ostensibly a good guy.
Giving us a stand by your man message is Loretta Swit playing Conrad's girl friend. In her own way Swit is the standout performer in The Last Day.
Fifteen years earlier The Last Day would have gotten theatrical release. It's a crisp and exciting western especially when the shooting starts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A predictable but polished television horse opera from veteran Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, veteran TV director Vincent McEveety's "The Last Day" is about as good as a made-for-TV western can get. They have spared no expense with a first-class cast and top-notch production values. Robert Conrad is appropriately scruffy looking as lead bank robber Bob Dalton who is thinking about Argentine after his hold-up. He concocts a plan to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville and his brothers and friends go along with him on this daring but dangerous outing. Meantime, renowned gunfighter Will Spence has been living quietly in Coffeyville, Kansas, with word floating around about his reputation with a gunslinger. Spence owns a stable, and he keeps his gun belt coiled around his holstered six-gun in a hamper. As the action unfolds, two of Bob's henchmen ride in and try to gun him down, but Spence kills them with nothing but a pitch fork and a lot of luck. Eventually, word gets around that Bob Dalton has been seen around town. When the Daltons ride in a 9:30, everything goes smoothly for Bob and his younger brother Emmett (Tim Matheson) at their bank, while Bob's other brother Grat (Richard Jaeckel of "The Dirty Dozen"), Dick Broadwell (Christopher Connelly of "1990: The Bronx Warriors"), and Bill Powers (Tom Skerritt of "Alien") encounter trouble across the street., The bank manager assures Grat that their bank vault is on a time clock and he cannot open it for another fifteen minutes. What Grat doesn't know is that the bank manager has told him a lie. The town barber (Shrug Fisher) warns Marshal Connelly (Gene Evans) that the Daltons are in town, and Connelly notifies Spence. Spense tells them to assemble, but not to open fire until the Daltons and their minions leave both banks. A trigger-happy towns-person ignores Spence's orders and starts blasting away, and the rest of the armed town's folk follow his lead and open fire. A brief gunfight erupts. Bob is shot off his horse and Emmett shot in the back trying to get Bob off the street. Writers Jim Brynes, Steve Fisher, and A.C. Lyles give the cast interesting dialogue to utter. Not bad for its kind.
In the 1960s, A.C. Lyles created a niche for himself in Hollywood. He
produced a lot of low-budgeted westerns starring various stars after
they had long since peaked. Often, these stars were pretty old in the
films and I've heard the term 'geezer westerns' used to describe his
"The Last Day" is one of Lyles' later films and like other Lyles films, it's helmed by an older star a bit past his prime, Richard Widmark. The story is pretty typical of many westerns, with the script fictionalizing true events and people. In this case, it's about the final robberies of the infamous Dalton Gang...both which were attempted at the same day and which ended badly for the gang. Widmark plays Will Spence, a character which appears to be fictional. As for the gang, it's made up of the likes of Robert Conrad, Richard Jaekel, Tim Matheson, Tom Skerritt and Christopher Connelly and a few other familiar faces are in the film as well (such as Barbara Rush, Gene Evans and Loretta Switt).
The film is okay...neither great nor terrible. The film was closer to the truth than many other similar films...but took lots of liberties despite its documentary style. The film is narrated by Harry Morgan. Also, when a person is shot, they do NOT go flying backwards...that's a TV/movie myth...that is unless they are hit by something like a cannonball! Also, I found it strange that every time a townsperson shot one of the gang, they ALWAYS just stood there waiting for the other gang members to kill them in retaliation!!
|Ratings||External reviews||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|