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Louis L'Amour's easy voice with its gentle rhythm sets the tone and pace of the film in a spoken introduction to this loping, rambling three-hour-plus TV-movie adaptation of his novels The Daybreakers and Sackett. Sam Elliot stars as the elder Sackett, a nomad hunting and trapping in the mountains who happens upon an ancient treasure. Tom Selleck and Jeff Osterhage are his younger siblings, forced to leave home to avoid a Hatfield and McCoy situation. As the Sackett brothers wind their way across the Midwest prairies and mountains we join them on cattle drives and gold hunts, in gunfights and fistfights, and in a climactic showdown as they find their place in the world. This 1979 film rambles and meanders like a lazy river winding through a beautiful landscape of peaks and plains and forests, punctuated by the occasional gunfight and enlivened by a story that celebrates both the open range and the taming of the towns. Elliot looks almost young but flashes his savage eyes behind a thick black beard, while Selleck's easygoing manner is backed up with a stony-faced determination. The excellent cast includes a veritable who's who of Western character actors: Glenn Ford, Ben Johnson, Gilbert Roland, Gene Evans, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, Mercedes McCambridge, and Pat Buttram. Followed in 1982 by The Shadow Riders, which reunited the three stars and even a few members of the supporting cast in a tale of three different brothers. --Sean Axmaker
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