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Silverado (1985, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover)

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Compensation for Kevin Costner, left on the cutting-room floor in Kasdan’s The Big Chill, came when the director offered him a role in this western aimed at reviving the genre after Heaven’s Gate, with an eclectic cast pointed at an unremarkable town, Silverado.

After serving his sentence for murder, Emmett (Scott Glenn) heads for Silverado to see his family, and survives an ambush en route, and ends up rescuing the luckless Paden (Kevin Kline). The pair stop off in the town of Turley, where they rescue Mal (Danny Glover), who they think is to be lynched. Emmett soon discovers that his brother Jake (Costner) is the mob’s target, and decides to spring a jailbreak. Paden refuses to assist, but changes his mind after being imprisoned and, with Mal’s help, they free Jake. In Silverado they find brief respite before the evil McKendrick (Brian Dennehy) tracks them down and swears vengeance for the death of his son at Emmett’s hands. The retribution begins and the men soon pull together in the hope of a lasting victory and peace.

Kasdan is the master of intelligent mainstream action, having written screenplays for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones sagas. He is also not averse to risks – casting Steve Martin in Grand Canyon – and makes good use of that other intellectual comedian John Cleese in support as a despotic limey sheriff. The influence of his heroes John Ford and Howard Hawks is also evident in the sweeping vistas and small human dramas played out on screen.

production details
USA | 127 minutes | 1985

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Script: Lawrence Kasdan, Mark Kasdan,

cast
Kevin Costner as Jake
Brian Dennehy as Cobb
Danny Glover as Malachi ‘Mal’ Johnson
Kevin Kline as Paden
Brad Leland as Trooper (as Brad Williams)
Sheb Wooley as Cavalry Sergeant
Patricia Gaul as Kate
Gene Hartline as Bar Fighter
Jim Haynie as Bradley
Brion James as Hobart
Jon Kasdan as Boy at Outpost
Scott Glenn as Emmett
Amanda Wyss as Phoebe
Bill Thurman as Carter
John Cleese as Sheriff John T. Langston
Marvin J. McIntyre as Clerk
Todd Allen as Deputy Kern
Kenny Call as Deputy Block
Meg Kasdan as Barmaid
Dick Durock as Bar Fighter
Autry Ward as Hat Thief
Jake Kasdan as Stable Boy
Rosanna Arquette as Hannah
Rusty Meyers as Conrad
Zeke Davidson as Mr. Parker
Lois Geary as Mrs. Parker
James Gammon as Dawson
Troy Ward as Baxter
Roy McAdams as Tall outlaw
Linda Hunt as Stella
Jeff Goldblum as Slick
Ray Baker as McKendrick
Joe Seneca as Ezra
Lynn Whitfield as Rae
Jeff Fahey as Tyree
Earl Hindman as J.T.
Thomas Wilson Brown as Augie
Richard Jenkins as Kelly
Ken Farmer as Deputy Kyle
Sam Gauny as Deputy Garth