Billy, you got to learn to control your own life. Folks can help you along and kind of point out the general direction sometimes, but nobody can really show you the way as such. Any man who says he can is either after votes, money or just plain don't know what he's talking about.
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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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