Set against the awesome backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness, a disillusioned FBI agent decides to retire and join his buddy running an air frieght business. When his friend is murdered and unjustly branded a bootlegger, the former agent sets out to clear his friend's name.
Singer-songwriter John Denver sought to reboot his career and carve out a new role for himself as an action hero with Higher Ground
. This TV movie, clearly intended as a pilot for a possible series, stars Denver as former FBI agent Jim Clayton, who goes to Alaska when the incompetence of his superiors at the bureau becomes unbearable. In the vast wilderness, he teams up with an old friend named Rick, who has an air freight business. But Rick soon turns up dead and it's up to Jim to clear his friend's name of bootlegging charges and bring peace to Rick's wife and son. Along the way, of course, there's an occasion for Denver to pull out his guitar and exercise his soaring tenor. The plot and overall quality is standard television fare of the 1980s: The bad guys are obviously bad, a young boy needs to regain his faith in humanity, and solving the case doesn't involve detective work so much as looking earnest and getting into awkwardly choreographed fist fights. Still, Denver's sincere and likable personality comes through and fans will enjoy his performance. Also starring John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark
, the Lord of the Rings
trilogy) and Richard Masur (Risky Business
). --Bret Fetzer