The made-for-television western The Sacketts combines the plotlines from two seperate Louis L’Amour novels, The Daybreakers and The Sacketts. In this film, the three Tennessee-raised Sackett brothers migrate to the West following the conclusion of the Civil War. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide.
Made ten years before Lonesome Dove, The Sacketts (1979) may well have been the first great Western Mini Series – and in looking at the cast, it’s easy to understand why some Western fans may hold it with similar esteem, with Western Greats like Glenn Ford, Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck, Slim Pickens, Jack Elam, Ben Johnson, L.Q. Jones, and some notable support players including John Vernon, Gilbert Roland, Buck Taylor … and on. Pretty impressive. So although The Sacketts does show itself to be a little shy in production values compared to modern fair, it still shines with notable Star Power.
Ratings were favourable … as they should be.
Sacketts … doing ‘the walk’
Quigley Down Under
and the Sharps 1874 Model Rifle
“The Quigley® rifle itself was a custom conversion from a cavalry model breech loader and it retained the patch box and saddle ring from that incarnation. The older 1863 rifles shot non-metallic paper cartridges, loaded from the breech. The falling block served to slice off the end of the paper cartridge and expose the gun powder. The Quigley® 1874 conversion was rebarreled and re-worked to fire 45 calibre 110 grain metallic cartridges. The 45 -110 stands for 45 calibre and 110 grains of black powder … Authenticity is everywhere in this movie, including the time it takes for a heavy 45 calibre bullet to travel 1,000 yards AND the fact that it gets there a noticeable few moments before the sound of the shot can be heard by the bad guy who’s getting shot!
The Quigley® Rifle used in the actual movie was made by Shiloh Rifle company (Powder River Rifle Company). Its rumoured the movie production schedule had to wait in line three years for the rifle to be completed! After the movie it was donated by Tom Selleck to the NRA for a fund raising auction. In 2010, Powder River Rifle Company acquired the Quigley® trademark from Cimarron Firearms Company. See the actual rifle at ShilohSharps Rifles.”
“The Movie Is Magnificent – Tom Selleck makes the Quigley® character into a hero we all wish we could be. He wins the love of a beautiful girl, beats the bad guys with heroic American style, and introduces the audience to the deadly efficiency of Single Shot Rifles… See the Movie. Own the Gun!”
– Quigley Down Under Soundtrack – Main theme: Basil Poledouris
“God created all men. Sam Colt made them equal.”
– Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck)
Selleck with co-Star Laura San Giacomo
Cora: You know, if we’re lost, you can tell me.
Quigley: We’re lost.
Cora: I can take bad news. Just tell me straight.
Quigley: I don’t know where the hell we are.
Cora: No sense takin’ time to make it sound better than it is.
Quigley: I reckon we’re goin’ in circles.
“This ain’t Dodge City. And you ain’t Bill Hickok.”
– Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck)
John Hill first began writing Quigley Down Under in 1978, and both Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood were considered for the lead, but by the time production began in 1980, McQueen was too ill and the project was scrapped. In the mid-1980s Tom Selleck heard of it and UAA got involved; the film was almost set up at Warner Bros with Lewis Gilbert as director but it fell over during pre-production. Simon Wincer then became director, who felt a good story had been ruined by numerous rewrites from people who knew little about Australian history, so he brought on Ian Jones as writer. They went back to the original draft, re-set it from the 1880s to the 1860s and made it more historically accurate.
Critics … ? way too low boys.
I stumble out of the bush … flinging down the worthy ghost of Ned Kelly …
(I never thought he would be so heavy … maybe it’s that armour?)
I’m heading for desert and high country … the lands of crocodiles, the Aborigine, Snowy River, and the Outback …
3 Dusters await: Quigley, Down Under (1990), The Man from Snowy River (1982) and The Proposition (2005), Australian-style: ‘not necessarily in that order’ … but who knows what the hell else is out here ???
“There’s a price on his head,
A girl on his mind,
And a twinkle in his eye.”
“The West was never this far West.”
Quigley, Down Under (1990)
… this outta get some dust in my mouth.
Tom Selleck’s notable (and long anticipated) appearance in a Western worthy of his stature. We can now see why Speilberg wanted him for Indiana Jones – and are somewhat saddened that he hadn’t done more work like this up till now as Selleck seems to be one of those actors who was born to be a Cowboy.
Strange that it had to happen in Australia?
No matter – it’s all good: A Classic.
GUS AND WOODROW / DUVALL AND JONES
“People just ne’er git tired of us …”
Kaboooom ! Aussie Style !
Some actors seem born to be in Westerns …
Samuel Pack “Sam” Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers.
… One of his first film roles was as ‘Card Player #2’ in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
… In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland, among others.
… including Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. In 1998, Elliot was named the Grand Marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators. He has also starred in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
Sam Elliott Website: A Tribute to Sam Elliott: http://www.automatedculture.com/sam_elliott/
“I`ve spent my entire career on horseback or on a motorcycle.”
In researching Westerns … I’m finding I have some ‘dues’ to pay. I’ve discovered my education in Western movies is sadly lacking and there are a ton of Westerns out there that I have never seen that I need to ‘catch up on’ – even at this late date.
In doing so I’ve also found that I sometimes have to subject myself to a few Westerns that are less than excellent. Like tonight, when I decided to watch The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck is a favorite actor of mine and, in fact, is in one of My Favorite Westerns: Quigley Down Under. But The Shadow Riders is (sadly) not of the same calibre. It’s a TV Movie – a B Movie. Not that all TV Movies or B Movies are poor – some are pretty good and a lot of fun to watch – they just aren’t normally ‘top of the line’ in production qualities.
The Shadow Riders actually has some pretty fine talent in – besides Selleck: Sam Eliott, Ben Johnson; Catherine Ross … plus a sampling of trusty support actors. But it’s not a good movie.
Selleck and Elliot appeared together several times in Westerns:
With regard to Ben Johnson: a fine Western actor who has appeared in MANY Westerns – and is also in another of my My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch. He’s one of the four (anti) heroes who march to the final showdown – along with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates.
Ben Johnson definitely has a place in the MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame …
Ride on Ben …
The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine