A middling Western, 1971’s Catlow is worth watching to see Yul Brynner tapping an inner rascal that no one even imagined existed.
Brynner spent so much time in his career playing scowling, serious guys that it comes as a shock to see him as the sort of lusty scamp that Burt Lancaster and Errol Flynn used to specialize in. Catlow is a comedy, an adventure picture and a buddy film; it isn’t great, but it’s definitely entertaining.
Conagher offers plenty of cowboy action—fighting, rustling, Indian danger, folks doing right, others doing wrong—but the 1991 movie is a romance all the same. Hard-bark cowpoke Conagher (Sam Elliott) and a widowed woman (Katherine Ross), with two children, circle each other and eventually connect. Figuring ways to introduce capable, untutored loners to soulful frontier women is a theme, a good one, that L’Amour kept returning to.
About a Tennessee family named Sackett and their adventures out West, the two-part, 1979 miniseries The Sacketts opened the door for a string of Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck Westerns. For a picture with its share of drama, The Sacketts has a meandering quality; it shuffles from event to event, and it desperately needs a little humor and a lot more heat, especially where Selleck is concerned. The best thing about this miniseries was the parade of familiar faces: Mercedes McCambridge, Ruth Roman, Glenn Ford, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, Gilbert Roland, Pat Buttram, Buck Taylor, Gene Evans and Ben Johnson.