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After doing five years in prison on a drug charge, Poke is returns to his hometown intent on taking his sweetheart Mary Lee (and their child) away with him to California. His plan hits a snag, however, when he discovers that since his incarceration, Mary Lee has taken up with Duke, the very sheriff who put Poke behind bars in the first place. Things turn even worse for Poke when he later witnesses Duke assassinating a local hispanic politician. Now with Duke out for his blood, Poke must choose to run for his life or make a stand. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Folks who dig car chases and car crashes will find a fair bit to enjoy here; "A Small Town in Texas" is particularly enjoyable when it gets down to the vehicular stunt aspect. As for the rest, well, it's definitely a formula script (by William W. Norton), with engaging but familiar types of characters. Actor / director Jack Starrett ("Slaughter", "Cleopatra Jones") guides it with his customary efficiency, and does the expectedly solid job of capturing life in the South. Our hero is likable enough (although, after a while, you wish he'd shut up about going to California) and our villain is very much a heel.
Timothy Bottoms stars as Poke Jackson, who tangles with his sheriff nemesis Duke Calley (Bo Hopkins), the man who set him up (resulting in Poke spending five years in jail) and stole Pokes' girl Mary Lee (Susan George) in the process. Poke, who reconnects with Mary Lee and the son (Mark Silva) that they had together, ends up witnessing a crime in which the crooked Duke is involved. So now Poke is obliged to take it on the lam and evade Duke (who now wants Poke dead) and his deputies.
Nicely shot in Panavision by Robert C. Jessup, this features a wonderful score by Charles Bernstein, is sufficiently rousing when it gets to its more action oriented scenes, and has some poignant moments as well as some humorous ones. The capable supporting cast includes Morgan Woodward as local fat cat C.J. Crane, John Karlen and Clay Tanner as deputies, Art Hindle and Hank Rolike as Pokes' good friends Boogie and Cleotus, and the always very amusing George 'Buck' Flower (who doesn't appear until late into the movie) as Pokes' ornery old uncle. Bottoms and Hopkins make for fun adversaries, and George is of course lovely to look at. Director Starrett has a cameo as the drunken Buford Tyler.
Nothing special but still a good example of this type of "hicksploitation" entertainment.
Seven out of 10.
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