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Crossfire Trail Reviews

Not a horse opera cliche goes unused in this picture, based on a book by prolific Western author Louis L’Amour, in which a man must fulfill a promise to a dying man he hardly knew but calls his friend. Rafael Covington (Tom Selleck) visits the man’s widow, fetching schoolmarm Ann Rodney (Virginia Madsen), and offers himself as caretaker of her person and her ranch. Ann can’t pay the mortgage, of course, and is being pressured into marriage by villainous Bruce Barkow (Mark Harmon), who has his eye on her holdings. As this "I can’t pay the rent...You must pay the rent!" scenario plays out, Covington and his pals — stock characters JT (Christian Kane), the callow youngster, and Irishman Rock Mullaney (David O’Hara) — befriend a crusty sidekick, Joe Gill (Wilford Brimley). They form the good guy side of the coin to Barkow’s posse of dentally-impaired, unkempt nasties. To Harmon’s credit, he refrains from the Snidely Whiplash characterization one might expect in favor of a more subdued, smooth-talking wolf in sheep’s clothing. And when pushed to the end of his ability to fake charm and adoring interest in Ann, an interesting sociopathic calm overcomes him. The predictable final stage is set for a shootout, and Barkow’s men are joined by a slick hired gun from Kansas City, Bo Dorn (Brad Johnson). The battle steals from previous genre entries like GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL (1957), HIGH NOON (1952) and many others, but packs none of their focused excitement or emotional weight.