A young boy draws on the inspiration of legendary western characters to find the strength to fight an evil land baron in the old west who wants to steal his family's farm and destroy their ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Hackett (as Moira Harris)
Man in Top Hat (as Joseph Grifasi)
Bert Kramer ...
Eric Lawson ...
Captain of Industry


A young boy draws on the inspiration of legendary western characters to find the strength to fight an evil land baron in the old west who wants to steal his family's farm and destroy their idyllic community. When Daniel Hackett sees his father Jonas gravely wounded by the villainous Stiles, his first urge is for his family to flee the danger, and give up their life on a farm which Daniel has come to despise anyway. Going alone to a lake to try to decide what to do, he falls asleep on a boat and wakes to find himself in the wild west, in the company of such "tall tale" legends as Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and Calamity Jane. Together, they battle the same villains Daniel is facing in his "real" world. Written by Sean Parlaman <seanpar@efn.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A journey into a world where legends come to life. Dreams come true. And every boy is a hero. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)


$8,247,627 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nick Stahl and Moira Sinise (son and mother) went on to star together in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). See more »


Babe the Blue Ox is referred to with feminine terms. This is wrong. Babe is not a female. He can't be, because an ox is a neutered male bovine. See more »


[on seeing a beautiful swarm of butterflies]
Pecos Bill: Kind of makes it all worthwhile, don't you think?
See more »

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User Reviews

Tall Tale Review
1 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Written by Steve Bloom and Robert Rodat, and directed by Ornie Orsatti, Tall Tale stars Nick Stahl, Patrick Swayze, and Scott Glenn. Released in 1995 this Action/Adventure film takes place in an old western town at the start of the twentieth century and focuses on the modernization of America.

In 1905, Daniel Hackett (Nick Stahl) lives with his mother and father on the farmlands of Paradise Valley. As the film progresses the audience learns that Daniel is growing sick of his life on the farm and expresses his bitterness to his father, Jonas. Daniel's father tells him repetitive stories of folk heroes, Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and John Henry, in whom Daniel no longer believes. Meanwhile, J.P. Stiles (Scott Glen) enters town with his gang of wealthy men and his modern machinery with intent of buying the land in order to develop it. When Jonas stands up to stiles and refuses to sell his land he ends up being shot, but not before he hands the deed to his land to Daniel.

Jonas survives but is badly injured, Daniel meanwhile runs and hides in his boat, where he falls asleep. When he wakes he finds himself in a dried up lake bed in Texas, where two men try to rob and kill him, only to be rescued by legendary cowboy Pecos Bill (Patrick Swayze). The two of them later meet up with famous lumberjack Paul Bunyan and ex-slave John Henry. The team gets into a tough battle with Stiles, whose greediness threatens the strength of the folk tales and the livelihood of the farmers.

The acting by the Stahl, Swayze, and Glen was very impressive. They were able to capture the feel of the early Midwest and made the audience feel as if they were part of the story. The compelling acting brought out the excitement of the folk lures that every child reads when growing up. Gender clearly played a large part in casting actors for the film because men play all of the dominant roles. This can be attributed to the fact that women didn't have a large role outside of the home during this time period and unfortunately there are not many women folk heroes.

The costume design and set design also played large roles in creating a convincing story. The costumes were dead on for what viewers would imagine Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and John Henry to look and dress like. The costumes really brought out the feeling that this film was based in the early Midwest and the set was designed perfectly to give the feeling that the audience is involved in a folk story. For example Paul Bunyan's log home was exactly what you would imagine it to be, along with his blue ox, Babe.

I would highly recommend this film, as I have loved it since I was a child. It is a great movie for children and for families, and should be watched by anyone who enjoys adventure films.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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