Broken Trail, the made-for-TV Western starring Thomas Haden Church (shown) and Robert Duvall, made the AMC cabler very happy.
Besides pulling in good numbers and repeated airings, it landed Walter Hill an award from the director’s guild for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies and Television, and a lapful of production and acting nominations in the SAG and other awards.
So they’ve decided to take a chance at lightning striking three times by letting Church put together a one-hour pilot, “Last Horseman,” about a revenge-driven black cowboy. The word “pilot” assumes AMC may have a series in mind.
Hill is going to get a shot at a series as well, which will partner him with Trail producer Ron Parker, who also wrote the Leelee Sobieski vehicle Joan of Arc (1999).
Hill’s assistant, Hope Anita Smith, passed this along: “The series being developed is currently at the story stage for the pilot episode. And, at the moment, is untitled. However, Walter says the attempt is a new look at the Oklahoma Territory during the early 1890s and centered on a federal deputy marshal who works under the command of Judge Isaac Parker.”
Hill followed that with a note of his own: “My suspicion is that since it takes place in Oklahoma Territory, the name will either have a geographic connotation or be personalized with the name of the deputy marshal, who is the protagonist. As you know, these are the classic remedies.”
It might be remembered that Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) was a marshal working for Parker’s court in True Grit and its sequel. Parker (top), famous for being a “hanging judge,” was supposedly responsible for some 79 deaths by hanging. He died in 1896, but not before stating that he had been both misrepresented and misunderstood.