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Johnson County War (2002)

Tom Berenger , Luke Perry , David S. Cass Sr.  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

Price: $32.94 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Berenger, Luke Perry, Burt Reynolds, Rachel Ward, Michelle Forbes
  • Directors: David S. Cass Sr.
  • Writers: Diana Ossana, Frederick Manfred, Larry McMurtry
  • Producers: Brian Gordon, Diana Ossana, Frank Q. Dobbs, Larry Levinson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FDA4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,971 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Johnson County War" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Johnson County War

In the tradition of Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo, this three-hour Hallmark miniseries ranks among the finest TV Westerns ever produced. With a deft balance of rugged action and richly drawn characters, Johnson County War captures the essence--if not the precise historical details--of the range wars that raged between Wyoming homesteaders and cattle barons in the early 1890s. Fighting for the legal settlers are the Hammett brothers Cain, Harry, and Dale (Tom Berenger, Luke Perry, Adam Storke), along with Dale's tough-as-leather wife (Michelle Forbes) and an ill-fated whore (Rachel Ward) who stands proudly against the hired gun (Burt Reynolds) who terrorizes the region for his cowardly British employers. Reynolds is too contemporary for his role, but he's a dapper villain surrounded by stooges you'll truly love to hate, and Berenger leads the excellent cast with an outstanding, lived-in performance. An actor and veteran stuntman, director David S. Cass Sr. capably serves the original script by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, bringing workmanlike intensity to several exciting chases and showdowns, all beautifully filmed by ace cinematographer Doug Milsome. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED LONESOME DOVE? YOU'LL LOVE THIS! September 4, 2003
By A Customer
Cut from the same hide as classic western dramas like Lonesome Dove, Streets of Laredo, Monte Walsh, and Crossfire Trail, The Johnson County War is a well-told story that is loosely based on actual historic events.
It's the age-old conflict: Big Business vs. the small entrepreneur. The big cattlemen employ the tried and true strategy of the west for dealing with their small time competitors: if you can't beat them kill them! But one man stands up for his beliefs and is ready to pay the ultimate price for them.
Tom Berenger heads a stellar cast that includes Luke Perry, Burt Reynolds and Rachel Ward. The script by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana is along the same lines as their Lonesome Dove masterpiece.
I actually bought and watched this one on the merits of the cast and writers alone and never looked back.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done Western Saga September 28, 2002
When I saw this title come up as a "pre-release", I had to check the movie data bases to see what it was all about. It is based on a book called "Riders of Judgement", which is, in turn, based on actual historical events involving rich land hungry bad guys and small ranchers, farmers and homesteaders, who, in reality, were not quite the good guys you see in this film. It is really well written, acted and filmed, and it never drags, despite the nearly three hours that it runs. Luke Perry and Tom Berenger are the brothers who try to resist the efforts of the rich members of the "Cheyenne Social Club" to run them off their ranches. The film script was written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, and what a fine job they did. Berenger, an actor who generally delivers a good performance is realy in top form here, as are most of the cast. Casting Burt Reynolds as the bad guys' hired gun/corrupt marshal is the only weak element in the cast; I find his work overall to be generally light weight, and here, he isn't a "bad" enough villain. The original TV rendition was a Hallmark work, which is usually a plus for me because those folks take their sponsorship seriously, and the transfer to DVD is first rate, including some spectacular scenery. If you like a good adventure film, you can't go wrong here.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Western December 25, 2002
By A Customer
Larry McMurtry has once again crafted another timeless western. Thought not as good as Lonesome Dove, this film does stand it's own. One reviewere said that certain scenes would never happen in a Lousi L'Amour novel, and that is correct; mainly because L'Amours novels are not realistic; they are just stories. Everything that happened in this movie, at one point on another, actualy happened in real life (though not necessarily in the Johnson County War). The story revolves Berenger's character, Cain and his fight against the cattle barons of wyoming. Cain, incidently,is a parallel of the real life figure Nate Champion, who fought in the Johnson War.
The script leaves one reminded of the Lonesome Dove series in that there is plenty of character driven dialouge, and the movie superbly paces itself to the climax (which is an awewsome scene). There are plenty of funny moments too, such as a converstaion about jello. The cinemtography is great, and the movie feels likes a western. It does not look modern, as the other reviewer said. (note: the war took place in the 1890's, so rich places like the Cheyenne Club were indeed well furnished).
Some say that Burt Reynolds was not a good choice, but I thought he did a good job, as did Luke Perry and Adam Storke. Overall, this is one of the best westerns I have seen, and trust me, i have seen many. It is a shame that only television is producing quality westerns (unlike the theater where films such as the horrible Texas Rangers & American Outlaws were made).
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-made Western! December 16, 2002
I enjoyed this movie very much. It's a solid western with a decent plot and is well-paced and well-cast. Three brothers try to keep their land while big ranchers do everything evil and devious they can to drive the smaller ranchers out. There is a certain amount of brutality and tragedy along the way.
The three Hammett brothers (Tom Berenger, Adam Storke and Luke Perry) are all good in their parts. I especially liked Adam Storke as the sweet but somewhat wishy-washy Dale. His relationship with fiesty wife Michelle Forbes (now seen on "24") is complex. She browbeats and adores him, yet privately admits to Berenger's character that she really prefers him over her husband. ( interesting wrinkle in their story.)
Luke Perry plays the youngest brother, Harry, who is turning into somewhat of a wastrel. I never saw much of Perry prior to this, since I steadfastly avoided watching the "Beverly Hills" series that brought him his fame. I never thought much of him before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good he is in this part. His romance with a lovely young widow is, however, underdeveloped and I think this was a definite flaw in the story.
Tom Berenger (as Cain Hammett) is clearly the oldest brother of this trio. Berenger's developed quite a good reputation for doing outstanding Westerns and historical dramas, so he's a wise choice for this movie as well. He's always an excellent actor and does well in this role. His character is sympathetic, brave and self-sacrificing and you can't help but empathize with him.
Also excellent are Rachel Ward as a toughened but likeable prostitute, Christopher Cazenove as a foppish British rancher, and Burt Reynolds as an evil villian.
This is a perfectly competent western. Incredible scenery, a good cast and a well paced story make it worthwhile to see.
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