Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ned Blessing Return to Plum Creek|
Actors: Luis Avalos, Brenda Bakke, Rob Campbell, Brad Johnson, Bill McKinney
Genres: Westerns, Drama, Television
Popular Series of Western Movies. The town of Plum Creek falls into treacherous hands when a loyal Sheriff Albright is brutally killed under mysterious circumstances. With a small town quickly becoming lawless under the w... more »
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Steven Hellerstedt | 03/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
NED BLESSING: RETURN TO PLUM CREEK is a made-for-tv movie from 1993 based upon, and featuring the cast of, the CBS series "Ned Blessing: The Story of My Life and Times." I don't remember the series at all, but now I'm kind of sorry I missed out on it. If the movie accurately represents the series, this one had a lot going for it.
Brad Johnson stars in the title role, the Boy Bandit of Texas who we first view as a one-armed old man in a jail cell, scratching out his memories on foolscap and chasing away a group of neighborhood boys who are playing on the gallows, his gallows, that shadow his barred windows. It's an intriguing opening.
Ned is returning to Plum Creek, Texas with a Mexican officer hard on his trail. Along with Ned is his friend Crencencio (Luis Avalos), a Sancho Panza type who is a healer (helpful, considering all the lead that flies in this 90-minute movie) and something of a mystic who speaks to the `grandfathers' that reside in a gourd he carries with him.
Ned returns to Plum Creek to find his father, who, coincidentally, is off looking for him. Before the first commercial break he's involved with a mule-shooting family, the Borgers, and the "off-breed" ex-slave couple they're trying to intimidate out of Texas. The Borgers, as the name hints at, control the town and have effectively cowed the inhabitants. Verlon Borger (Bill McKinney) is the patriarch, the widowed father of three sons. Verlon has a grisly sense of humor. The head of the last sheriff, a man who crossed Verlon, is floating in a pickle jar on a table in the saloon.
The town of Plum Creek, then, is poor, dirty, broken down and cowed by the Borgias - er, I mean Borgers. Ned arrives as a catalyst of change - and the only character who seems to have an endless cache of clean clothes - and the movie draws what must have been the core cast of the series to the ex-slaves' defense. Besides Ned and Crecencio that includes Sticks (Tim Scott), a rail-thin gray hair with a thick moustache who spends most of the movie overcoming his fears; Wren (Brenda Bakke), the tough/tender barmaid; Judge Longley (Richard Riehle), who apparently forsook justice for whiskey about the same time Borger first rode into town; and One Horse (Wes Studi), a Native American.
NED BLESSING is an old-fashioned, good vs. evil western with an impossibly accurate shooting title character and an impossibly vile antagonist in mean old Verlon Borger. Being a fan of this type of western, I enjoyed it quite a bit, with reservations. There's a scene with a lashed down hero and a rattlesnake that was too corny even for me. Further, there are some questions left unresolved. Maybe the series would have answered them, but it only lasted five episodes. What was One Horse carrying in that cotton sack that he protected so vigorously? How did Ned Blessing wind up in jail, and how did he lose his arm?
Recommended, especially if you're a fan of old-fashioned westerns.