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Top-rated miniseries! Academy Award® winner Robert Duvall (1983 Best Actor in a Leading Role, Tender Mercies) and Academy Award® nominee Thomas Hayden Church (2004 Best Performance by an ... See full summary »
Thomas Haden Church,
Set in 1898, Print Ritter and his estranged nephew Tom Harte become the reluctant guardians of five abused and abandoned Chinese girls. Ritter and Harte's attempts to care for the girls are complicated by their responsibility to deliver a herd of horses while avoiding a group of bitter rivals intent on kidnapping the girls for their own purposes.Written by
It was a two-hour movie in the beginning, but AMC wanted to develop an original series, so they made it longer (from the book "Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad" by Brett Martin). See more »
A camera is visible when Big Ears gets on a horse to go and visit Dink Yeatman. See more »
[after killing the man who stole from them, Harte returns to find his uncle teaching the girls English]
So I went and got our horses and our money... had to stretch a fella... and you start a finishing school for Chinese girls.
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I can only hope they someone keeps making Westerns because the few that have been made the last few years have been outstanding. This one, a TV miniseries, is just great. I can't enough good things about it. I saw it recently on DVD. It was a three-hour film. I thought I read somewhere that it was four hours, so I don't know if this version has been down. I only know what I saw, and I liked about everything I saw.
Looking at the IMDb reviews here before making a rental helped me out a lot. It prepared me for a slower film. In other words, I knew what to expect.....and that helped. I didn't expect a rough film with a ton of violence and nasty characters, language, etc.
What surprised me was just how interesting a film this was for being three hours long and not having a lot of action. I attribute this to the dialog, the acting, characters you care about and the wonderful cinematography. It's hard to beat the scenery in a nicely-filmed western.
The words coming out of the two stars of the picture, Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church were extremely believable material. These guys were tough, but not abrasively- macho, compassionate but not sappy. As "Prentice Ritter" and "Tom Harte," respectively, they fascinating to watch. I liked what they said throughout the movie and they were extremely believable characters. They looked and talked the part.
This story is different because it's mainly about helping five young Chinese women, who are destined for prostitution, slavery and who knows what else. Ritter and Harte didn't volunteer for the job; it accidentally came upon them as they were escorting horses North for a nice payday. The two men showed wonderful compassion for these girls, despite the fact they slowed their mission down and had a problem with communication.
There has to be some villains in a western and we have them here with "Big Rump Kate" and others but they are not overblown and we don't see so much of them they they get annoying. For a Walter Hill film, this was astonishing in how low-key it was told.
We also get a bit of a romance, just a glimpse between Duvall's character and one played by Greta Scacchi ("Nola Johns"). It has a different kind of ending to it, one I didn't expect and one that will emotionally affect you.
It simple terms: this is a nice movie, a good story about good guys doing a good deed for the right reasons. Watching them do it, under adverse conditions, was almost a privilege. A big thank you to all involved with this movie and giving us fans of this genre hope that it isn't completely dead.
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