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There's a bad element that's been drifting into town ever since the mines opened. They ain't like us. They ain't decent. They're just tramps, Dan. And we owe it to the community to do something about it.
Go to the Sheriff and volunteer as deputies without pay.
That ain't the same and you know it... you know. There's just some things the regular law can't handle. If every able-bodied man was an enforcer of the law, why this rowdy element - they'd leave town.
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Some attractive scenery and a handful of nice moments among the cast are about all this family-oriented film has going for it. To say that it is a TV-level production is a bit of an insult to such beautifully mounted TV westerns as "The Big Valley", for nowhere in this film can there be found music, lighting or direction to match that or many other fine series. Montgomery (a child actor of some note in the '70's for his work in "Ben" and "Burnt Offerings") is a young boy in love with nature's animals, but caught in the adult relationships around him (mostly concerning local land ownership.) Walker plays his father, a level-headed man at odds with the mob mentality of the local townspeople. Baker plays the boy's mother and gives a decent performance considering the circumstances. Montgomery comes across a wounded young hawk and takes it to eccentric loner Ives for repair. Unfortunately, the townspeople (headed by Young) don't want Ives, along with several others, around their territory and conflict is brewing. The film would like to be another "Night of the Grizzly", but has neither the style, nor the budget to accomplish that. Though the shots of the mountains and terrain are good enough, most of the cast is filmed without proper lighting, thus former dreamboat Walker appears bleak and obscured by shadow. (Really......What would a piece of board covered in white cloth have cost to bounce a little more light off these people?!) Still, he puts a lot of thought into his role and shares a nice relationship with Baker and Montgomery (and eventually gets to show a little strength near the end.) Young is a bit of a liability as one of the hood-wearing raiders in the town. The long time co-star of "Mr. Ed" doesn't exactly instill fear in the viewer (though he does invest his role with some acting talent as well.) Buried without fanfare in the cast (tenth-billed!) is Bonaduce who, only a couple of years before, was a sensation on "The Partridge Family". Here he is second banana to an actor who immediately went into voice-work after this and he doesn't even rate billing in the opening credits. There is an embarrassing picnic sequence in which a bunch of extras in period drag attempt to act as if they are 19th century settlers (a lame attempt to crib a joke from "The Music Man" is included as well.) The film is likely too dull and colorless to entertain children and is too cheap-jack, dopey and tiresome to enthrall adults. Though the cast tries, they are undone by the material, the budget and the direction.
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