To date I’ve seen it five times, but when deciding to write this review I promptly found myself in a quandary. If North & South leaves me searching for words this is worse (though in a different way).
Since it’s new and little known, I’m including a brief summary of my own (paraphrasing the official one): Wes Rawlins’s life is forever changed when he returns home to find his mother has been brutally murdered and the men guilty are still at large. Thinking his long-lost father, Ray Eastman, may be responsible, Wes (a well-known bounty hunter) sets out to find him, bent on confrontation and justice. Finding his father, he promptly finds himself also in the thick of a territorial land fight. As Wes stays to help defend his father’s homestead, danger dogs his heels—the heat intensifying even as he’s drawing close to the family he’s never known.
There are multiple reasons why it’s near and dear to me, but one huge reason is because (though the plots are quite different) it came at exactly the right moment to marvelously upend my current writing project, On David’s Shoulders.
And it’s a western—a western with themes of justice and “found” family. The casting is outstanding, and those family ties and relationships (between father/son, father/daughter, and sibling/sibling) are done beautifully and superbly.
With the premise of his father’s two marriages, I wasn’t sure how they were going to handle the meeting of the newfound, grown siblings (especially the unknown brother-sister thing), but they did extremely well—catching all the awkwardness and portraying it realistically while at the same time keeping it completely free of any “I’ve-just-been-wading-in-something-terrible” feel. Also, with the bad guys being led by another family (a father and his two sons) there’s fuel for fantastic depth and contrast.
As far as objectionable content: it’s not extremely bloody, but there is a lot of shooting and killing throughout, along with some mature themes (particularly involving a discontented woman) so, though there aren’t any remotely inappropriate scenes, I definitely don’t recommend it for younger family members.
As the story unfolds, the plot quickly bends from what you might expect in the opening scenes. As my father said, “I thought it was going to be one of those Hallmark movies—(nothing wrong with those, of course)—but it was action.”
Every single one of my family members who have seen it enjoy it: my mother and sisters heartily concurring in my sentiments while my brother has watched it with me four out of the five times (one of his highest marks of approval)!
In the end, it blows you away with the feel of all good story—the hungry desire for more while giving also the deep, hearty—lasting—satisfaction of a wonderful story well and truly told.