Kris made a few TV Westerns during this period. TV Westerns are often sneered at as being low budget fare. But budget is really only one factor of several that make up a Movie/Western production. Script/Writing, Direction, Casting, Star Power, Acting, and several other factors all combine for the quality of a film.
What I’m saying that most of Kris’s Westerns in this period were really pretty good. Not Classics, but worth a watch.
Kris’sKristofferson’s Western film career started off with a definite Bang!! TWO HUGE BANGS to be exact. He first Starred in Sam Peckinpah’sPat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973).Peckinpah wasalready a controversial figure – and the story surrounding the making and dismemberment of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is legendary stuff – Sam eventually walking away from the project – the movie undergoing several edits – resulting in 3 different versions.
Kris’s second Western – Heaven’s Gate (1980) may be the most controversial movie project in Film History – bankrupting United Artist Film Studio – due to the outrageous behavior of Director Michael Cimino – equally as controversial as Peckinpah.
The parallel between Pat Garrett and Billy the Kidand Heaven’s Gateis amazing: Two controversial renegade Director’s – possible both genius’s – who made two controversial Western movies – which were both dismembered by their respective Studios – ending up in multiple versions of each – but which were ultimately manifested into what many people consider as Westerns Classics. The verdict is still out on Heaven’s Gate– but Pat Garrett and Billy the Kidis in solid. And Kris was in both of them. Amazing stuff.
In 1986 Kris made two Westerns: A remake of Stagecoach andThe Last Days of Frank and Jesse James. Stagecoach Starred Kris, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings. The Last Days of Frank and Jesse JamesStarred Kris and Johnny Cash. Willie had a bit part in that one too.
Yep … these guys eventually formed the Country Music Supergroup TheHighwaymen.