Based on the classic Wild West story "Riders of Judgment," this tale follows the Hammett brothers, who refused to yield their land to cattle barons in 1891 Wyoming. As the range war escalates, the siblings unite against the ruthless Hunt Lawton (Burt Reynolds) and discover that their greatest asset is the power of family. With Tom Berenger, Luke Perry, Adam Storke, Michelle Forbes. 180 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby stereo; behind-the-scenes footage; photo gallery; trailer.
In the tradition of Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo, this three-hour Hallmark miniseries ranks among the finest TV Westerns ever produced. With a deft balance of rugged action and richly drawn characters, Johnson County War captures the essence--if not the precise historical details--of the range wars that raged between Wyoming homesteaders and cattle barons in the early 1890s. Fighting for the legal settlers are the Hammett brothers Cain, Harry, and Dale (Tom Berenger, Luke Perry, Adam Storke), along with Dale's tough-as-leather wife (Michelle Forbes) and an ill-fated whore (Rachel Ward) who stands proudly against the hired gun (Burt Reynolds) who terrorizes the region for his cowardly British employers. Reynolds is too contemporary for his role, but he's a dapper villain surrounded by stooges you'll truly love to hate, and Berenger leads the excellent cast with an outstanding, lived-in performance. An actor and veteran stuntman, director David S. Cass Sr. capably serves the original script by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, bringing workmanlike intensity to several exciting chases and showdowns, all beautifully filmed by ace cinematographer Doug Milsome. --Jeff Shannon