13 user 7 critic

Jasper, Texas (2003)

R | | Drama | TV Movie 8 June 2003
1:09 | Trailer

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In 1998, three white men in the small town of Jasper, Texas, chained a black man to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him to his death. This film relates that story and how it ... See full summary »


Jeffrey W. Byrd


Jonathan Estrin
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Roy T. Anderson ... James Byrd, Jr.
Demore Barnes ... Ricky Horn
John Bayliss John Bayliss ... City Manager
James Bearden James Bearden ... Old Sour Man (as Jim Bearden)
Samantha Bee ... Kathy
Addison Bell ... Judge
Conrad Bergschneider ... Moe Johnson
Matt Birman ... Beating Cop
Kedar Brown ... Reverend (as Kedar)
Sandra Caldwell Sandra Caldwell ... Norva
Marium Carvell Marium Carvell ... Gloria Mays
Eugene Clark ... Don Clark
Michael Copeman ... Council Member #2
Neil Crone ... Principal
Travis Kyle Davis Travis Kyle Davis ... Black Young Man


In 1998, three white men in the small town of Jasper, Texas, chained a black man to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him to his death. This film relates that story and how it affected all of the residents of the town, both black and white. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A lone hitchhiker took a ride... One that would turn deadly



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence/disturbing images and language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 June 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jasper, Texas See more »

Filming Locations:

Beaverton, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Showtime Networks See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Despite similar last name, Director Jeffrey W. Byrd is not related to James Byrd, Jr. See more »


Though set in Jasper, Texas, pharmacy window contains advertisements for "Canada's #1 Weight Loss System." See more »

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User Reviews

Savage chains
4 November 2014 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

This is a kind of made for cable TV film that I can imagine was trailed every 15 minutes in the run up to its first showing. The shocking true story of the murder of James Byrd jr in 1998 when he was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged through the roads in Jasper, East Texas. Byrd was black and his murderers were three white men.

Obviously this was a horrific crime, the drama is interspersed with news footage of politicians commenting on this even including President Bill Clinton.

Jon Voight plays the considerate and wily Sheriff Billy Rowles who investigates the crime and finds the assailants rather quickly. Louis Gossett jr is the town mayor.

However we get to know little about the victim. Its rather hinted from early scenes that he had been a bad boy in the past and in other scenes it was alleged that he was a drug dealer. We also do not find out why the young guys decided to commit such a crime.

We see footage of the drag scenes in flashback, obviously the filmmakers decide to tread the line by not being too exploitative but there are some graphic scenes of the aftermath.

The film turns to the examination of how the events caused waves to the town, where racism was hidden and the events brought the media as well as the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan into the town and turn it into a powder keg. We also have the case reaching the court as the men stand trial.

Yet this part of the story is rather uninteresting and perfunctory. Its very much highlights the flaws of these type of made for cable TV films. A shocking true event turned into a true movie of the week in a sanitized way. The budget is blown in getting the services of two Oscar winning actors but the production is sub par with lacklustre cinematography.

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