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Tom Selleck made a couple of made-for-cable TV westerns that were very
good, and this is one of them. The always-reliable Selleck is convincig
in the lead role and Suzy Amis is fun to watch to in the corresponding
female lead. It's also kind of neat to see a very young Haley Joel
Osment two years before he became famous in "The Sixth Sense."
Once again, as these westerns tend to be, the viewer is treated to some beautiful scenery and in addition, a good story of a man taking taking family back home to Arizona - not the north or south - after the Civil War and not finding a nice welcome from the home folks.
In this film, we also get two Carradines: David and Keith, villains but not as despicable as many are shown in other westerns. The Carradine family has produced some really fine actors over the years.
It's just another one of these solid, relatively-unknown westerns that I am glad to discover. I'm sorry to see only three other reviews of this as of my writing. Apparently there are many others out there who have yet to discover this gem.
What is wrong with this movie? I'll tell ya - not much at all. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, exciting at times, truthful, and hardly at all boring. It was interesting seeing Haley Joel Osment in an early role. I thought he'd steal every scene but his character wasn't too central to the story. Still it was interesting to see the enormous talent just pouring out of the kid every time he did have a scene. Suzy Amis I thought was great in this role. She just fit it really well. All around the characters were great including the Carradines and of course Magnum P.I. Selleck On The Range. I'd like to say he's today's John Wayne in a western sense but no, no way he's not the new John Wayne; there can never be another, well, maybe someday but there definitely isn't now. Thankfully those of us who like westerns have Tom Selleck cause he does great in them! I'm completely flabbergasted that people voted 1 or 2 for this, essentially believing this is one of the worst movies ever made, cause when you vote that low that's what you're thinking. Unbelievable people could think that way about this movie. It definitely didn't suck and I don't even think it was bad. Oh wait, I know, Confederate sympathizers voted that low because of the bad things this movie said about Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Even though there was no Civil War fighting in this movie, in a way it revolved around Forrest's actions at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. There the slave trader Confederate General Forrest ordered the massacre of unarmed, black Union troops who had surrendered. They laid down their weapons and should have been sent to a POW camp but instead Forrest ordered them shot dead in cold blood. Tom Selleck's character Paul Cable, after enlisting in the rebel army when he should have enlisted in the Union army, saw action at Fort Pillow and saw the atrocities Forrest had committed thus changing Cable forever. After Cable returns home he tries to rebuild his life but finds that in a small yet still deadly way the war continues. Because he regretfully enlisted in the rebel army he was a target for elimination from a neighbor who wanted his land for his own. Cable, of course, prevails in the end and along the way enemies become friends realizing that off the Civil War battlefield there's no need for Southern sympathizers to hate those who are neutral or support the North. I give this a grade of B+.
Although made for television, this is an excellent western; far better
than the usual fair one finds on the tube. I bought the DVD after
watching Selleck in Crossfire Trail, The Sacketts, and The Shadow
Riders . No doubt about it: Tom Selleck makes a Hell of a cowboy! The
plot has been described in previous reviews so there is little point in
repeating what has already been said.
The actors are uniformly fine especially Suzy Amis, Keith and David Carradine, and Tracey Needham. Haley Joel Osmet was also fine in a relatively minor (but important part)and Rachel Duncan was marvelous as Cable's daughter Clare (watching her ride side by side with Selleck on a horse drive mimicking his actions is great fun). I have to also mention western character actor extraordinaire' Harry Carey, Jr., who was fine as Cable's father-in-law in an all too brief roll at the beginning of the movie Carey was once a member of John Ford's stock company with John Wayne, Ward Bond, and many other western genre greats.
In a sense this is an anti-war movie as it certainly does not glorify the Civil War (or the War for the Southern Confederacy). Indeed, it rather accurately portrays Bedford Forest's roll at Fort Pillow, Tennessee but Forest was the only Confederate leader to murder black Union Troops. This atrocity was committed during the battle of Petersburg (if my memory serves me correctly at a fight called "The Crater"). The confederate gun runner offered a accurate statement when he said that war changes men and that it makes those who survive killers. Afterall war is simply murder wrapped in a flag. Sam Elliott said much the same thing as Sheriff Bucky O'Neil in the movie Rough Riders. I thought Selleck's portrayal as Cable and Keith Carradine as Vern Kidston were right on target. Calling Vern a bad guy is hardly accurate and frankly, this is a movie with no quintessential bad guys with the possible exception of David Dukes as Edward Janroe. Janroe, an ardent Confederate nationalist, however is far more of a tragic figure having lost the use of his right arm in the war and remaining extremely bitter as a result. Janroe said he fought in Virginia with Kirby Smith. Although Smith is better known for his leadership in the Transmississippian Department after 1863, he did in fact fight in Virginia during 1861. Smith was the last Confederate general to surrender in May 1865. The ending of the war in favor of the north seems to have caused Janroe to lose his senses...a tragic (bot hardly sympathetic) figure indeed.
In sum, this movie has enough action to keep it exciting but it is honestly a human interest movie about how war effects those who participate in it and those left behind. It never drags and the 96 minute duration passes by all too quickly.
WOW this is a good movie. Tom Selleck joined forces with Turner
Pictures for 3 westerns. and all 3 of them are superb. this was the
first of the 3 (Crossfire Trail, Monte Walsh).
this has a great plot as Selleck's character, a former confederate soldier returns home and things are what they should be. And he has to put his life back to gether.
I also loved the scenery and the attention to detail. It's not your typical shoot'em up bang bang western. the plot is good the background music is good, its all good
I thought this was a darn good western. Enjoyable and entertaining as a true American Western should be. Great chemistry with all the actors. Keith Carradine was really good you see why their back in Monty Walsh. Tom and Keith have it on screen. The wife of Cable is very authentic. A western frontier gal. She reminds me of the wife in Shane. A good plot and running story line. David Carradine always as weird as ever playing Duane. He carry's it. True to the civil war era with rifles and revolvers for authenticity. I like the scene where Paul Cable sits on the porch with riders coming up slightly pulls his gun out from the holster for a quick draw and cocks his Henry rifle. I also notice Comet rides again from Brisco County Jr. It looks like that horse that Tom rode was what Brisco rode too. Also Denis Forest who played Cornet the cowboy who got a shot into Cable played on Briscoe as well. He was one of the Swill Brothers. A good movie won't be disappointed.
I think this is a decent western. Selleck does definitely suit into the
cowboy role with a gun in one hand and a rifle in the other. Interesting to
see the two brothers Keith and David Carradine together as members of the
Nevertheless an interesting script when soldier Paul Cable returns home from the Civil War, just before it ends really, to find out some people have taken what is his. Surprising twist of script in the end which makes it a little bit more entertaining (at times too much small talk and romance) but I never felt anything at all for any of the characters (especially not Haley Joel Osment's or Rachel Duncan's, the two children).
Worth a watch though. Tom Selleck, who also produced it, made an alright appearance.
This is a great film that grabs the attention and holds it all the way
through. The story is excellent, the history convincing and the acting
is superb throughout. It may be a 'made for TV' movie but this is about
as good as a Western can get. It should definitely receive more
recognition than it does. Perhaps it's movie snobbery because it was
made for TV, maybe people don't like Ted Turner or Tom Selleck - who
This is one of those DVD's that doesn't come down in price too often - a sign of a good film. If you watch it you'll know why. This is one for the DVD library. I'll never part with my copy.....
Elmore Leonard wrote Westerns before he started writing crime novels. 3:10 To Yuma was about a man who took a job as a deputy to bring in a killer. Last Sand at Saber River is about Paul Cable, (Tom Selleck,) a former Confederate soldier, who returns home to his ranch in Arizona, only to find it occupied by Union sympathizers. Cable and his family have to fight to get their home back. I'd tell you more but then that would be spoiling it. Right? It's another movie based on an Elmore Leonard story. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 10. All right, without giving away much of the plot, Cable is a Civil War veteran who headed to Texas to join the Confederate Army, and according to the story. was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The story says that he wounded in the leg and was given ninety days to recover and ordered to go home because there was a shortage of beds in the field hospital.
This movie is based on an Elmore Leonard novel, but don't expect the usual high quality of dialog that makes Leaonard stories stand out. Tracey Needham is good in a supporting role. Tom Selleck is always believable as a cowboy hero.
Last Stand at Saber River is directed by Dick Lowry and adapted to
teleplay by Ronald M. Cohen form the novel of the same name written by
Elmore Leonard.It stars Tom Selleck, Suzy Amis, Tracey Needham, Keith
Carradine, David Carradine, Haley Joel Osment and Rachel Duncan. Music
is scored by David Shire and cinematography by Ric Waite.
"Texas 1865. The war between the States continues to rage. Texas remains deeply committed to the Confederate cause."
Nicely mounted Oater from the tail end of the Civil War, Last Stand at Saber River does, however, suffer from predictability. Selleck is Paul Cable, who is back from fighting for the Confederates in the war, he finds that his family thought he was dead and his homestead has been claimed by Union men. A feud ensues between Cable and the Kidston family, while Cable and his wife Martha (Amis) struggle to reform their love in a haze of confusion and bitterness. Cue some Western movie staples that file in and out of the plot and a finale that turns on an unlikely character switch around.
There's something wrong with this valley. The war's over but the killing don't stop.
Characters are nicely drawn, though, with the script allowing some mature conversations and themes to be born out within the plot. The New Mexico locations are nicely photographed by Waite, and the colours are unobtrusive and keep the feel authentic. Selleck manfully carries the film on his tall frame, he looks the part and conveys great acting skills with face and body. Rest of cast are up to a required TV Western standard, with Amis standing out by expertly portraying guts and emotional turmoil without histrionics.
A good and safe time filler for the Selleck and TV Western watchers, but it really doesn't linger in the memory once the predicted ending has closed. 6/10
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