Warner Home Video / Region 1 / Released May 1, 2010
Legendary author Louis L’Amour was the king of the Western genre (or Frontier stories as he liked to call them) through much of the 20th century, he made his name when John Wayne starred in the movie Hondo based on one of his stories. By the end of the 1950’s there was nobody else to touch him when it came to dramatic western tales. This three disc collection gathers together a trio of movies based on his novels.
First up is the Tom Selleck starring The Sacketts which is a hugely under rated gem, a tale of three brothers living and travelling across the American midwest. Made in 1979 Sam Elliott plays the eldest Sackett brother who is trying to make a living trapping in the wilds but discovers hidden treasure, his brothers Selleck and Jeff Osterhage end up joining him when they are forced to leave home. The main bulk of the plot is the tangles the brothers have with another gang of brothers, one of whom has been killed by Elliott, meanwhile Selleck is determined to bring law and order to a small Santa Fe town. This is epic stuff, gorgeous scenery and and a three hour running time allow you to really lose yourself in the journeyings of these trio of classic Western figures. The supporting cast is superb too including the likes of such legends as Glenn Ford, Slim Pickens and Jack Elam.
While The Sackett’s is worth the price of the box set by itself, next up is the equally good Conagher (from the early 1990’s), another starring vehicle for Sam Elliott, this time he appears alongside his real life wife Katherine Ross for a hint of romance as ageing cowhand Conn Conagher falls for widowed ranch owning Ross when they are forced to pull together to tackle rustlers who are threatening to ruin them both. Elliott is a superb actor who has never quite got the major A list acclaim that he should have and he is excellent here as the ageing cowboy who is prepared to stand for what he believes.
Finally there is Catlow a light hearted slice of early 1970’s western action with a great trio of stars in the leads. Richard Crenna, Leonard Nimoy and Yul Brynner head up the cast with Brynner playing the Catlow of the title, a cattle rustler and criminal who is being tracked by Marshal Crenna as well as bounty hunter Nimoy. Directed by actor Sam Wanamaker Catlow has become something of a cult classic since it’s original release and it is easy to see why with it’s easy going style and groovy soundtrack it scores points on all levels.
This is a great little box set well worthy of the time of any western fan.