Once Upon a Texas Train: Includes 3 Bonus Movies [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky
Based on a book by Norman Maclean, and closely based on his own youthful experiences, this made-for-TV drama concerns Mac (Jerry O'Connell), a teenage boy who gets a job working for the National Forest Service in Montana shortly after the end of World War II. With the help of veteran ranger Bill Bell (Sam Elliott), Mac learns a lot about forest management -- and about life. The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky also features Ricky Jay and Molly Parker. ~ Mark Deming, 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

Once Upon a Texas Train
The made-for-TV Once Upon a Texas Train offers us the once-in-a-lifetime teaming of Richard Widmark, Willie Nelson and Angie Dickinson. Nelson plays a veteran outlaw who robs a bank less than 6 hours after being paroled from jail. He uses the money to reunite his old gang, then sets about to repeat the train robbery that had gotten him arrested 20 years earlier. This time, however, Nelson is himself targetted for theft by a young, hungrier band of desperadoes. Widmark plays the lawman who caught Nelson before and intends to do so again. Written and directed by the reliable Burt Kennedy, Once Upon a Texas Train premiered January 3, 1988. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Tulsa
Tulsa was, in 1949, the most elaborate production released to date by the Eagle-Lion corporation-though all evidence, especially the technical credits, suggests that the film was put together at Universal-International, then merely distriibuted by Eagle-Lion (who made a fortune at the box office). The film traces the matriculation of the sleepy Oklahoma village of Tulsa into a major oil center Susan Hayward stars as an amibitious cattleman's daughter who wishes to wreak vengeance on the encroaching oil interests but who becomes a "black gold" mogul herself. Robert Preston costars as a geologist who hopes to rescue his beloved Oklahoma from being utterly devastated by drilling and derricks. This being a late-1940s film, Greed runs a poor second to Good at film's end, with the oilmen and the conservations learning to work together rather than as bitter enemies. While the story is a good one, the true selling angle of Tulsa was its action sequences, notably a fire scene that must have cost as much as all the other Eagle-Lion releases of 1949 combined. Originally lensed in vibrant Techicolor, Tulsa is usually seen today in washed-out, two-color Public Domain prints. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Sam Elliott
    Sam Elliott
  • Jerry O'Connell
    Jerry O'Connell
  • Ricky Jay
    Ricky Jay
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