- Written by Sandi Tracey
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On May 18, Warner Brothers releases the Louis L’Amour collection – a four disc set featuring The Sacketts (on two discs), Conagher, and Catlow.
The Sacketts (1979) [tv]
The Sacketts is a charming movie directed by Robert Totten and starring Tom Selleck, Jeff Osterhage, and Sam Elliott as the Sackett brothers – Orrin, Tyrel, and Tell, respectively – sons of a Welsh immigrant who homesteaded in Tennessee.
The movie opens with the rather maddening scene of the wedding day murder of Orrin’s bride by a disgruntled and feuding neighbor, who was aiming for Orrin when she ran into the path of the bullet. Her death doesn’t seem to faze the neighbor who is again aiming for Orrin when Tyrel comes to the rescue and kills the crazed neighbor.
Tyrel is then sent packing by his tearful mother in an effort to save his life, because she knows that even though it was a justified killing, the feuding neighbors will come after him to seek vengeance.
Soon after, Orrin follows, again, because his tearful mother doesn’t want to have to bury him, too, and since Tyrel is now gone, word has it that the neighbors have their sights on Orrin.
The two brothers eventually meet up with each other, and together they eventually find their long lost brother, Tell, also on the run for a justified killing, but they end up going off in their own directions once again.
While Tell goes off to search for gold that was hidden by the Spaniards over 300 years ago, Orrin and Tyrel end up in Santa Fe, where Orrin is elected Sheriff and Tyrel eventually becomes his deputy.
The “thot plickens” when the newly elected Sheriff Sackett finds that he must work towards building the trust of the Mexicans living in Santa Fe who are being unjustly run out of town by none other than Jonathan Pritz, the bigoted father of Orrin's love interest and who claims credit for Orrin’s election.
A humorous moment in this movie finds Paul Koslo as Kid Newton trying to pick a fight with Tell Sackett, who just wasn’t in the mood for it. Kid ends up leaving in a childish huff.
Twelve years later we find Koslo again chasing after Elliott in the movie Conagher, which is my favorite movie in this set.
Conagher (1991) [tv]
Conagher, played by Sam Elliott, is a rough, tough, intimidating looking cowboy of few words with a gentle spirit and a heart bigger than life itself. He rides the range fending off bad guys and helping people who need it.
The story begins as the Teale family moves into their new home on the prairie way out in the middle Apache country, located in central nowhere. Miles away from the rest of the world, the man leaves his wife and two youngsters to ride into town to purchase cattle. He estimates he’ll be gone for at least a month, leaving his lovely wife (played by Sam Eliott’s real-life wife, Katharine Ross) and the kids to fend for themselves.
On the way to his destination, Mr. Teale’s horse has an accident, and neither he or his horse are heard from again.
As luck would have it, though, a stage line is building a station in the area, so her house becomes a temporary station in the meantime, which provides her with some company and support, along with Mrs. Teale’s first meeting of Conagher.
One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Mrs. Teale’s son, Laban, first meets Conagher, who looks like he’s been in a fight. “Who gave you that black eye?” he asks Conagher. “No one gave it to me, son”, answers Conagher in his low, gently gruff voice. “I fought for it.”
Later there’s a tender moment between Conagher and Laban when he takes the boy on a cattle drive and they have a man to boy talk about the cattle business. The look on Conagher’s face as he makes a remark to the boy about how old he was when he started cattle punching, along with the boy’s facial expression in response, is enough to melt any mother’s heart, and it really shows some good acting and directing on the part of the cast and crew.
I especially enjoyed Katharine Ross’ role. Evie Teale was of strong character. She plowed the land, raised her kids, and fought off Apache indians all without her husband to protect her. She never showed any sign of weakness in front of anyone, either; especially her children. However, when she was alone, she’d cry tears of loneliness and would anonymously tie poems she wrote to tumbleweeds and let the wind carry them away. Perhaps she hoped Conagher would find them – which he did, and kept in his boots.
The notes also piqued the interest of other cowboys who had found them as they speculated about who was writing those and what she must look like.
Paul Koslo, of course, executes his role as bad-guy Kiowa Staples with excellence. He’s one of those actors whose style and looks combined with his artistic talent make him an awesome villain. He has a knack for giving his roles a certain feeling of juvenile delinquency despite that they're adult roles.
Conagher has to be one of the best Western flicks I’ve seen. This well written and well directed production has all the basic necessities wrapped up into an exceptional flick – good guys, bad guys, a heroine, her kids, some Indians, and enough different situations to play on one’s emotions for the entire length of the film.
Catlow is America’s most wanted man – he’s wanted by the law and he’s wanted by a hired gun (Leonard Nimoy) and his thugs. He’s also wanted by a group of outlaws, a band of Indians, and the Mexican Government.
This comedy western is chock full of antics as Catlow (Yul Brynner), and his best friend Marshall Cowan (Richard Crenna), try to hide each other from all the people who are after Catlow.
An interesting jaw-dropper about a third of the way into the film is a naked Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame) fighting Catlow, who walks in on him as he’s taking a bath and demands that he stand up. This wasn’t just a quick nude scene, this was a full-fledged fight shot from several angles, so parents take note of this before you show it to your kids.
* * *
To call this collection “entertaining” is a vast understatement. It will appeal to your every emotion! You’ll fall in love, reach for the tissues, yell at the bad-guys, and howl with laughter as you lose yourself in this 4 disc set. I can’t think of a better afternoon get away! Visit www.louislamourdvd.com for more information and to order this wonderful collection.
-- Sandi Tracey
Classic Cinema Online
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WARNER HOME VIDEO CORRALS THREE AWARD-WINNING FILMS INSPIRED BY LOUIS L’AMOUR’S CLASSIC WESTERN NOVELS
The Louis L’Amour Collection:
Featuring Acclaimed Actors Including
Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, and Yul Brynner
Debuting on May 18, 2010
Burbank, CA. (February 8, 2010) – Gather your cowboy friends around the campfire and enjoy these American Frontier classics on DVD with Warner Home Video’s release of The Louis L’Amour Collection on DVD May 18, 2010. Featuring film adaptations of three of bestselling author Louis L’Amour’s classic Western novels, the collection includes
“Known as ‘America’s Storyteller,’ Louis L’Amour brought the American Frontier to life through his novels and we are proud to share his work through these terrific films,” said Rosemary Markson, WHV Vice President, TV and Special Interest Marketing. “Following our successful Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott Western collections and just in time for Father’s Day, The Louis L’Amour Collection is one we are confident Western fans will treasure and enjoy.”
Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott and Jeff Osterhage play brothers who migrate west to make their fortunes in cattle-herding and gold prospecting. Each aims to make it on his own – but each also stands up for the other when the going gets tough. And their guns blaze a name for themselves in untamed New Mexico territory.
He conquered the range. She conquered his heart. Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross star as a cowhand and a widowed ranch owner who are drawn to each other when ruthless rustlers threaten his livelihood and her homestead.
A renegade outlaw wants to pull off a gold heist but finds it hard because he’s such a wanted man – by the Mexican Army, his hellcat girlfriend, an Indian war party, a vengeful killer and several hotheaded cowpokes from his former gang. Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna and Leonard Nimoy star.
Street Date: May 18, 2010
Order Due Date: April 13, 2010
Price: $19.97 SRP
Total Running Time: 411 minutes
Subtitles: Spanish, French
Aspect Ratio: 4x3, Full Screen Version
Running Time: 193 minutes
Language: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: ESDH, Spanish, French
Aspect Ratio: Full Screen Version
Running Time: 117 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16x9, Widescreen Version
Running Time: 101minutes
DVD Special Features:
- The Sacketts Go West featurette with co-star Jeff Osterhage and writer Jim Byrnes
- Catlow theatrical trailer
About Warner Home Video
With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, a division of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.
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