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Legends of the West, Vol. 2: 4 Movies [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Sam Cade
Sam Cade was the first feature-length "movie" put together from episodes of Cade's County, the early '70s series starring Glenn Ford as a modern-day sheriff in Madrid County, CA. In the first half, directed by Marvin Chomsky, Cade finds himself targeted for assassination when he's scheduled to testify in the trial of a mob kingpin -- what he doesn't know is that the assassin is one of his oldest friends (Darren McGavin), who is romancing another old friend (Loretta Swit) with a troubled past and using Cade's determination and his investigative skills to set him up for a hit. In the second half, directed by Richard Donner, Cade gets a tip that the mob has planned an assassination on a retired crime boss (Edward Asner) living in the county, who is so bull-headed and distrustful of the law that he won't accept any help or provide any information on who the killers might be, even though he's putting his own daughter (Shelley Fabares) at risk. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

The Hanged Man
Steve Forrest, in his last starring role before moving permanently to series television with S.W.A.T., plays James Devlin, a once-notorious gunman who is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Through an accident -- though the priest Father Alvaro (Rafael Campos) insists it was divine intervention -- he survives the hanging, barely, and is set free, a death certificate having been duly and lawfully issued by the doctor (William Bryant) who examined the "body." A near walking corpse, with an odd, dark fire in his eyes and a strangely low body temperature and heartbeat, Devlin doesn't know what to do with the rest of his life, however long that may be -- he's got enemies still walking around who would like to finish the job, and neither the doctor nor the priest can tell him how long he might live. Having already reformed before he was convicted, he goes the rest of the way and decides to spend what time he's been given, and use the skills he still has as a gunman and soldier of fortune, on the side of the angels, helping people who need it. He quickly finds himself up to his neck in a deadly land war between an ambitious mining tycoon (Cameron Mitchell) and a young widow (Sharon Acker) for the property she owns. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Marshal of Madrid
This 100-minute feature actually consists of two episodes of the series Cade's County, starring Glenn Ford as Sam Cade, the modern-day sheriff of Madrid County, CA, with Edgar Buchanan as his chief deputy. In the first half, Bobby Darin plays a psychopathic ex-con, obsessed with Billy the Kid, who starts to act out episodes in Billy's life in the modern West. Carrying a bazooka as well as Billy's real frontier revolver, he holds up armored cars from horseback, attempts to kill people he thinks betrayed him (and killed John Tunstall), and plans a move on trains and banks. He also involves his estranged wife (Linda Cristal) and the son (Leif Garrett) he didn't know he had in a plot to get revenge on the sheriff who betrayed him -- except that this sheriff is Sam Cade, not Pat Garrett. In the second half, a local bully is stabbed to death and the prime suspect is the Chicano laborer he had just fought with -- but Cade smells a rat when he discovers that the supposed killer was afraid of knives and that the victim never had his out, or even reached for his despite being attacked from the front. He begins digging, with help from a border patrolman (Rudolfo Acosta) and discovers that there's a lot of activity at the ranch where the suspect and the victim worked and lived that doesn't seem right, and too many ties between the victim, the ranch owner (James Gregory) and his lawyer (Simon Scott), and the witnesses, for all the pieces to fit together. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

American Empire
Originally slated for release through Paramount Pictures but ultimately distributed by United Artists, American Empire is a western "special" from Hopalong Cassidy producer Harry "Pop" Sherman. Set during the Reconstruction period, the film stars Richard Dix and Preston S. Foster as Dan Taylor and Paxton Bryce, two longtime friends seeking their fortune in postwar Texas. With the considerable assistance of Dan's sister and Paxton's wife Abby (Frances Gifford), the two comrades establish a thriving cattle business. Alas, Paxton is seized with the ambition to become a emperor in his own domain, thereby alienating himself from Dan and Abby. Only through a profound personal tragedy does Paxton come back to his senses. Ironically, critics in 1942 suggested that the Mexican accent adopted by supporting player Leo Carrillo was more than a little reminiscent of "The Cisco Kid" -- and this was still several years before Carrillo was established as Pancho in the "Cisco" "B"-film and TV series! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Glenn Ford
    Glenn Ford - Sheriff Sam Cade
  • Edgar Buchanan
    Edgar Buchanan - Chief Deputy J.J. Jackson
  • Ed Asner
    Ed Asner
  • Shelley Fabares
    Shelley Fabares
  • Ed Flanders
    Ed Flanders
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