Monday, September 6, 2010

Ten Favorite OLD WEST Movies and Miniseries

Below is a list of my favorite movies and television miniseries set during the Old West:


1. "The Chisholms" (1979) - This three-part miniseries about a family from western Virginia emigrating to California in the 1840s is a big favorite of mine. Based upon Evan Hunter's novel, it starred Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris and Ben Murphy.

2. "Stagecoach" (1939) - John Wayne became a star in this John Ford classic about a stagecoach journey through 1880s Arizona and New Mexico. The movie co-starred Claire Trevor, Academy Award winner Thomas Mitchell and John Carradine.

3. "Tombstone" (1993) - In my opinion, this is the best version about the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday and the O.K. Corral. Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot and Bill Paxton portrayed the Earp brothers. And Val Kilmer was memorable as Doc Hollday.

4. "Lonesome Dove" (1989) - Suzanne DePasse produced this superb four-part miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurty's 1985 Pulitzer Prize winning novel about a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. It starred Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Rick Schroeder and Diane Lane.

5. "Whispering Smith" (1948) - Although "Shane" is considered Alan Ladd's masterpiece, I prefer this Technicolor tale about a railroad detective and his rancher friend in 1880s Montana. Robert Preston, Brenda Marshall, Donald Crisp and William Demerest. Excellent performances by Ladd, Preston and Marshall.

6. "Maverick" (1994) - Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and James Garner starred in this hilarious movie based upon the classic 1957-63 television series. In this, Bret Maverick has to earn enough money to participate in a major poker tournament. Richard Donner at his funniest.

7. "Support Your Local Sheriff" (1969) - James Garner starred in this laugh fest about a sharpshooter and gunman who because sheriff of a lawless mining town. Garner is ably supported by Joan Hackett, Walter Brennan, Jack Elam, Harry Morgan and a very funny Bruce Dern. Top notch direction by Burt Kennedy.

8. "The Shadow Riders" (1982) - Based upon Louis L'Amour's novel, this first-rate movie is about three Texas brothers searching for kidnapped family members at the end of the Civil War. Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot, Katherine Ross, Jeff Osterhage and Ben Johnson starred in this excellent movie.

9. "Centennial" (1978-79) - This twelve-part miniseries aired between the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1979. Although I found the last episode set in the 1970s a little boring, the rest of the miniseries is a sprawling history of a small town in northern Colorado. It featured Robert Conrad, Richard Chamberlain, Gregory Harrison, Lynn Redgrave, William Atherton, Christina Raines, Alex Karras and David Janssen.

10. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966) - This last entry in the "Dollars Trilogy" told the story about three men searching for Confederate gold in the Civil War New Mexico Territory. Sergio Leone's classic is the longest and in my opinion, the best in the trilogy. It starred Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and a very memorable Eli Wallach.

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