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Riders of the Purple Sage (1996)

Jim Lassiter roams from town to town in search for the man who drove his sister to suicide. While riding toward a mountain pass, he sees an heiress, Jane Withersteen, being harassed by ... See full summary »


Charles Haid


Zane Grey (book), Gill Dennis (teleplay)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Ed Harris ... Jim Lassiter
Amy Madigan ... Jane Withersteen
Henry Thomas ... Bern Venters
Robin Tunney ... Elizabeth Erne
Norbert Weisser ... Deacon Tull
G.D. Spradlin ... Pastor Dyer
Lynn Wanlass ... Hester Brandt
Bob L. Harris Bob L. Harris ... Collier Brandt
Jerry Wills Jerry Wills ... Oldring
Rusty Musselman Rusty Musselman ... Matthew Blake


Jim Lassiter roams from town to town in search for the man who drove his sister to suicide. While riding toward a mountain pass, he sees an heiress, Jane Withersteen, being harassed by thugs and steps in to help. A religious sect wants Jane to marry their leader, Deacon Tull, so they can gain ownership of her land. When he steps in to help, Lassister slowly begins to believe that a member of this sect is the man he is looking for. Written by Ronos

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Friends betrayed her ... Neighbors deserted her ... Now her only ally is a stranger who lives above the law.


Drama | Romance | Western


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The Mormons are never identified as the religion in the film, as they were in Zane Grey's novel. But the story takes place in Utah, and the religious group is described as being persecuted and driven out of every place they had lived. Also, there is a book in a drawer with the Salt Lake temple on the cover. See more »


Lassiter: You'd best be calling on that god that reveals himself to you on earth, 'cause you won't be seeing him where you're going.
See more »


Version of Riders of the Purple Sage (1931) See more »

User Reviews

This is a Gem!
26 July 2000 | by DeeDee-10See all my reviews

Where can I start? I've heard/seen the title "Riders of the Purple Sage" for as long as I can remember, but never read the book, nor did I ever see any of the previous versions of this Zane Gray novel. It wasn't until I became a big Ed Harris fan that I started looking for more of his films, and ended up buying "Riders." I knew it was going to be good, but wow!, I couldn't have imagined it would be teriffic -by far the best western, and one of the best films, period, I've ever seen.

There is so much to this story. . . the two love stories of course; the hypocrisy of the "righteous", and the redeeming qualities of those who on the surface may appear to be "evil" or "bad guys"; the power of love between the most unlikely couples; and the spiritual power of love and trust, just for starters.

I don't know if the script was taken directly from the book, but the dialogue was magical in many scenes. Amy Madigan and Ed Harris were magical too, partly due to their personal relationship I'm sure, but their work together in this film was unforgetable. I couldn't help but notice how they kind of look alike! Common among some married couples.

The supporting cast was excellent, and the scenery unbelievable. This is one of the films I will be watching over and over again. It should be released in the theaters! See it.

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Release Date:

21 January 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Riders of the Purple Sage See more »

Filming Locations:

Littlefield, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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