The quest for a missing mare
Chrijeff | Scranton, PA | 05/27/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this lighthearted TV-movie (actually a failed series pilot), ex-football star and commentator "Dandy" Don Meredith plays an Old West horse trader who suddenly finds his life complicated by a sinister bounty hunter, an orphan nephew, and a missing horse with a secret. Benjamin Joseph "Banjo" Hackett, after running away from home in his youth and spending time among the Cheyennes, has gone into the horse business and spends his time roaming up and down California, Oregon, and Washington, buying and selling horseflesh and gathering unto himself a reputation for being honest "as horse traders go, and a fine figure of a man." A much delayed letter from an ailing sister sends him to her home town, where he finds that she has recently died and her young son Jubal Winner (Ike Eisenmann) has been remanded to the local orphanage. "Kith belongs with kin," says Banjo, and he springs the boy and takes him along in search of the boy's mare, Dido's Lament, a gift from himself. Dido is carrying a foal by a famous stallion who recently had to be put down, and the stallion's owner, railroad magnate Tip Conagher (Dan O'Herlihy) wants the foal--the last of his horse's great line. But somebody else is looking for Dido too--Sam Ivory (Chuck Connors), a "manhunter and pistoleer" who isn't as nice-minded as Banjo as to how he gathers information.
For a short movie, this one has a delightfully convoluted plot and features several well-known faces (Jeff Corey as Judge Janeway, L. Q. Jones as Sheriff Tadlock, Anne Francis as the former actress Flora Dobbs who gave her wealthy husband "the best four and a half months of his life," Slim Pickens as saddlemaker Lijah Tuttle) as well as some not so well-known (David and Richard Young as the slightly inept outlaws Elmore and Luke Mintoe, Jennifer Warren as dairywoman (and Banjo's sometime girlfriend) Mollie Brannan). Banjo himself is a great character--lover, brawler-when-necessary, scam artist occasionally, veterinarian and horse-trainer--full of homely saws that range from "Forbearance is the manliest virtue" to the Cheyenne maxim "Papoose in the tepee means trouble in the family" to "Men don't speak out their feelin's," and young Eisenmann, who was 14 at the time but doesn't look it (and had been acting since he was 10), turns in a surprisingly polished and convincing performance. Now if only they'd offer Meredith's other TV-Western, "Kate Bliss & the Tickertape Kid," on DVD, his best comic work would be available for everyone to enjoy."
Great family entertainment Superb quality DVD
Trevor William Douglas | Gorokan, NSW Australia | 09/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
Produced in 1976, this entertaining made for televison family film set in the west is brimming with familiar faces and the chemistry between Don Meredith and Ike Eisenmann is perfect. Sony pictures has done a superb job with the transfer and it looks great on a HDD TV."