The Long Riders
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Brand New 4K Restoration! From the great Walter Hill (Extreme Prejudice) Jesse James and his gang of outlaws ride again in this extraordinary western that pulsates with hard-driving action and electrifying drama. Four sets of actor brothers David Carradine, Keith Carradine and Robert Carradine; James Keach and Stacy Keach; Randy Quaid and Dennis Quaid; Christopher Guest and Nicholas Guest each depict real-life siblings in this emotionally charged portrayal of the Old West's legendary bandits. The notorious James-Younger gang is the most famous group of outlaws in the country, robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches with a sense of daring that makes them folk heroes throughout the land. But when the mighty Pinkerton detective agency swears to track them down, these criminals must face an awesome enemy that will stop at nothing to see them behind bars...or dead! Only through the strength of their loyalty and blood ties can the outlaws hope to survive the brutal pursuits, unexpected betrayals and blistering showdowns that mark the end of their dangerous ride.
Disc 1 - Movie
- Brand New 4K Restoration
- Audio Commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
- 5.1 Surround Audio
- Reversible Blu-ray Art
- Original Theatrical Trailer
Disc 2 Special Features
- New Interview with stars Keith Carradine and Robert Carradine
- New Interview with stars Stacy Keach and James Keach
- New Interview with star Randy Quaid
- New Interview with star Nicholas Guest
- New Interview with director Walter Hill
- New Interview with composer Ry Cooder
- New Interview with producer Tim Zinnemann
- Outlaw Brothers: The Making of The Long Riders (61 Minutes)
- The Northfield Minnesota Raid: Anatomy of a Scene (15 Minutes)
- Slow Motion: Walter Hill on Sam Peckinpah (6 Minutes)
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Director Walter Hill’s gritty western walks the tightrope between exploring the humanity of these brigands and remaining honest about their basic criminal nature. It meanders a bit in the middle as the focus shifts among the members of the disbanded gang, but numerous compelling scenes hold the interest.
This is one of my all time favorite westerns, second only to Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch". Now if they'd just get "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid" released on Blu ray, my western collection would be complete!
"The Long Riders" depicts this very peculiar period of American history that lasted from roughly 1840 until about 1900 through the stranger story of one of the most notorious of outlaw mobs: the James-Younger Gang. The James-Younger Gang began as a kind of vengeance for the defeated South care of the North in the American Civil War. They were comprised primarily of southern veterans and sympathizers. This revenge evolved into a reign of terror which lasted from about 1866 to 1880 and plagued Missouri and surrounding areas with hits on stage coaches, banks, and moving trains. For 15 years they plundered, brawled and murdered until posses and vigilante groups had had enough and began a concerted effort to destroy them. The posses ended up killing and maiming innocent members of the James and Younger families. After their demise around 1880, Jesse James and his colleagues were somewhat idealized, particularly Jesse who was dubbed the Robin Hood of the Old West. This film dispels many of the idealized myths that may have been fabricated in the wake of Jesse's death in 1882. These guys were unsentimental killers who make the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid seem like cultured gentlemen by contrast, and that's the way they're portrayed in "Riders" which may be why the film has not been as recognized as it should be.
One of the most interesting aspects of this film is a brilliant casting move that may have never been attempted before or since. In real life, four sets of brothers were involved in the Gang: the James's, the Younger's, the Ford's, and the Miller's. The filmmakers opted for casting each of these family groups with real siblings: the Keach brothers Stacy and James play Frank and Jesse James; David, Keith and Robert Carradine play the Younger's; Randy and Dennis Quaid play the Millers, and newcomers Christopher and Nicholas Guest play the Ford's. The stand-out of the film is no question David Carradine as Cole Younger, the most blood-thirsty of his clan, and second only in ruthlessness to Jesse James. Honorable mention goes to the Keach brothers as the James's, Randy and Dennis Quaid as the Miller's and the Guest brothers as the Ford's. Some of the lesser-known sibling actors keep up with their more famous brothers stride-for-stride. There is not a weak link in the entire line-up.
This is a rather bleak film, portraying the cut-throat ruthlessness of outlaws in an unromantic landscape. The Old West was tough, dirty and rather unforgiving. Disputes were settled not in courtrooms but in barroom brawls and along dusty streets where enemies made their respective cases with knives and guns. Sometimes I wonder if the average American male during this period and living in these geographic areas would have had on average a few kills in his lifetime, even if he was not an outlaw. This era was not about the likes of John Wayne cleaning up a rough and tumble town. The Old West was more about kill or be killed. And the James-Younger Gang made this argument with lots of blood and booty to go with it. Rather than being 19th-century American Robin Hood's, they were really the Old West equivalent of Spanish Pirates, sporting horses instead of ships. Knives and guns were still standard equipment.