LONE JUSTICE: SHOWDOWN AT PLUM CREEK is the third full-length home-video release to be culled from the CBS miniseries NED BLESSING. Since this is a compilation of three episodes, each directed and written by different people, quality and style vary, and if one isn't already familiar with
the series it takes a while to figure the territory. Unlike earlier compilations, SHOWDOWN AT PLUM CREEK has a clear, definite ending.
Plum Creek's sheriff Ned Blessing (Brad Johnson) discovers that the body of his predecessor, Sheriff Larsen, has disappeared from its grave. Larsen's preserved head is similarly AWOL from Blessing's office. Blessing's Indian friend One Horse (Wes Studi) had seen a headless man walking through town
the previous evening. That night, Blessing and his friend Crocenio are trapped in a cave by Big Emma (Rusty Schwimmer), who takes the opportunity to take over the town saloon. Blessing discovers Larsen's head in the cave, and a boulder serendipitously dislodges, freeing the duo. Blessing returns
to the saloon to confront Emma. Her cohort fights Blessing, only to be attacked by a ghost who turns him into an emotionless, mute zombie. Townspeople find Larsen, head back on his body, in his grave.
An effeminate but charming Englishman, Oscar Wilde (Stephen Frye), shows up in Plum Creek. Ridiculed by local roughnecks, he stands up for himself and breaks the nose of Silas, one of the town's biggest bullies. Wren (Brenda Bakke), Blessing's girlfriend, finds Wilde charming and goes riding with
him. Wilde tells her that he was sent to Plum Creek by Blessing's lost childhood love, Jilly Blue. Saddened by Blessing's devotion to Jilly, Wren considers going to Europe with Wilde. Silas captures Wilde and attempts to hang him, and Blessing comes to the rescue. Blessing is also captured, and
Wilde heroically risks his life to save Blessing. Wilde, now respected by all, returns to Europe. Wren stays in Plum Creek.
Big Emma hires the thuggish Sminck brothers to kill Blessing, but the intended victim arrests them first for an unrelated crime. Blessing invites County Sheriff John Mason Albright to Plum Creek to hang the varmints. On the road into town, Emma murders Albright, and the Smincks break out of jail.
Blessing shoots down one, and the other is about to confess but Emma nails him first. Blessing never learns that she was behind the assassination plot. Blessing finally professes his love for Wren, who stood by him during the shootout.
The three stories combined in LONE JUSTICE: SHOWDOWN AT PLUM CREEK form an intricately plotted western with enough bizarre and surreal moments to make the story fresh. Not many westerns would bring Oscar Wilde to the middle of a one-horse Texas town. Even more amusing is the coma-zombie who sits
around the saloon, gets fed by Emma, and basically blends into the townspeople like there's nothing wrong. The Wilde episode is by far the best of the three stories, with romance and humor, and Frye's flashy performance among a sedate cast is a breath of fresh air. Johnson's Blessing is an
uncharismatic lead; it's a wonder Wren doesn't leave him for Wilde and Europe after all.
The problem with any TV serial repackaged as a stand-alone feature film is the absence of exposition and characterization established at the outset. At least the writing here is crisp, the stories easy to follow. Except for Wilde's wild west, the energy level is low for a sagebrusher, but a
lighthearted spirit compensates. (Violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG
- Review: LONE JUSTICE: SHOWDOWN AT PLUM CREEK is the third full-length home-video release to be culled from the CBS miniseries NED BLESSING. Since this is a compilation of three episodes, each directed and written by different people, quality and style vary, and if… (more)