After the murder of his wife and son by an escaped criminal Sheriff Matt Austin sets out to capture him only to find he's been hired by a greedy land baron seeking to take land from a widow and her son.
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A escaped prisoner kills the wife and son of a former sheriff, Matt Austin, who sent him to jail long ago. Austin rides in pursuit and locates his quarry in a small town saloon. During the ensuing gunfight, an innocent bystander is shot and the murderer escapes. As a penance, the ex-lawman agrees to help the dead rancher's wife fend off a land baron's attempt to steal her property for its valuable water rights. Written by
In playing Matt Austin in A Gunfighter's Pledge Luke Perry channeled both Alan Ladd as Shane and John Wayne as Cole Thornton in El Dorado as he plays a former sheriff who's both on a mission to get the guys who killed his family and paying a debt to a family whose provider he accidentally killed.
Luke's long outgrown the sideburns he made famous as Dylan McKay in Beverly Hills 90210, in fact he's now got a three days growth of beard on him. Like Wayne in El Dorado where he kills the youngest son of a family being threatened by a cattle baron and whom he becomes the protector of, Perry in killing one of the two men kills the brother of a widow whose ranch rich landowner C. Thomas Howell wants because it's the source of water for the valley.
Howell himself has outgrown his brat pack days and makes a fine villain. Francesco Quinn, son of Anthony Quinn is a nasty crooked sheriff doing Howell's bidding. Also note Jaclyn DeSantis as the widowed sister of the man Perry kills and who he becomes the protector of.
One really glaring error in the film. I believe the original intent was to have a sadder ending, but a happier one was shot and tacked on at the last minute. I won't explain any further, but if you see the film, you'll know exactly what I mean.
A Gunfighter's Pledge is a good western, the kind we sadly don't see on the big screen any more.
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