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Last One Standing: Nebraska (2000)
Last one standing wins a tractor.
This was on the USA network. This took place in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It's the same contest as is common where the last one standing touching a car wins the car, but in this program the prize was a Case International Maxxum tractor with cab and a loader. There were twelve contestants. The contest was held in a big tent or shed. There was a line of porta-potties for people to use when it was potty time. The contestants were not allowed any sleep. The contestants were friendly to each other. One young man found the contest harder than he thought it would be, and he dropped out. One farmwife was trying to win the tractor for her family, but she lost. One man brought a lowboy-trailer semi to the contest to haul the tractor home on, because he was planning on winning it, and in the end he did. He was disciplined and experienced in sleep deprivation. It seems like his name was Buster.
TV movie about a foreshadowing event in 1983.
The Gordon Kahl incident, Medina, North Dakota on Sunday, February 13, 1983, was a forerunner to the James and Steven Jenkins incident, Ruthton, Minnesota in September, 1983, the whole mid-1980s farm crisis, and even Ruby Ridge and Waco. Gordon Kahl was a promoter of Posse Comitatus, and had a considerable following in North Dakota. Eventually, push came to shove. Kahl went down to the Arkansas Ozarks. But the FBI went in and got their man. The movie is based on a book written by James Corcoran who covered the news story for the Fargo Forum. The Georgia filming location suffices for North Dakota in winter? Not quite. There was a Dodge Ramcharger in the actual slaying incident. There was a small undercurrent of Posse Comitatus in North Dakota and Minnesota in the 1980s and early 1990s. They are a neo-Nazi sort of group. I think maybe an anti-Big Brother undercurrent would be a good thing if not taken to extreme extremes, but not a racist one.
Vintage motorcycle movie
David Carradine plays Fast Charlie Swattle, a motorcycle racer and kind of a con man. He tells everyone he's a World War I hero, but he's not. The race ran to California from Missouri or somewhere and was an important race for a motorcycle manufacturer to win. Fast Charlie rides a Moonbeam made by Pop Bauer in Moonbeam, Oklahoma. He gets somebody out of a jail by enticing the cop with a Model T Ford American Graffiti-style. Brenda Vaccaro plays Grace Wolf, a woman he discourages from marrying "Howard Hardware Store." Names in this movie include L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Jesse Vint and Noble Willingham. Pretty good recreation of the early 1900s.
The Sky's the Limit (1975)
Disney biplane movie
Disney biplane movie. Three is third generation. Two is second generation. Two takes Three to stay at Three's grandfather's farm in the California wine country while Two goes to Europe or somewhere. Three doesn't feel at home on the farm at first. A goose picks on him. Three starts up a Caterpillar and gets into trouble with it. But Three discovers that Grandpa has an old biplane. Grandpa used to be an ace pilot. Three and Grandpa can talk about aviation, and Three feels more at home. Three talks Grandpa into flying the old plane again. Grandpa and his farming cohort get it to flying, but the engine goes bad. Two comes back to get Three, driving a Volkswagen Beetle. Grandpa isn't allowed to take Three up in the plane because Two thinks it would be too dangerous, and he needs an engine from somewhere anyway. Do you think that Grandpa could manage to take Three for a flight before he has to leave?
Christmas pageant classic
Many people have been involved in a church Christmas pageant at one time or another, so there was bound to be a story like this. Take a typical middle-class family (the Bradleys) involved in a typical middle-class church Christmas pageant, a little uptight and steeped in tradition, and throw in some lower-class ruffian kids (the Herdmans) who take starring roles. This movie is a little different from the novel The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but that should be okay, because Barbara Robinson wrote them both. It seems like the book did say that the narrator figured that the Herdmans were going to hell, while the movie has her say she figured they were going to the devil. I suppose "devil" was supposed to be less offensive than "hell," but I'd rather have the narrator say "hell" like in the novel. Loretta Swit from M*A*S*H plays the mother directing the pageant. You might think this would be an unlikely role for her, but she does a good job.
Lucas Tanner (1974)
Okay family show on NBC.
This was on NBC after Little House on the Prairie. It was an okay family show. Aimed at teenagers and their parents. There was a movie Lucas Tanner. Lucas Tanner was a guidance counselor or teacher in a high school. Lived in Websters Grove, Missouri. Guess he was a widower. Recall he drove a full-sized Chevrolet station wagon. David Hartman played him. David was in Miracle on 34th Street. Had some other acting roles. Got into the news business in a big way. Was on ABC's Good Morning America. Well, naturally, Lucas Tanner had a principal or superintendent to be his superior. One of the most memorable characters of Lucas Tanner was Robbie Rist's Glendon Farrell, a little boy whose parents were away in the Peace Corps or something.
Harvest for the Heart (1994)
Dairy farming movie
Filmed and set in Manitoba, Canada. Jacob was supposed to marry Madeline, but he runs off and becomes a hotel/club piano player and singer. So Madeline marries his brother Daniel. Twenty years later, Jacob comes back home. Jacob's father is overjoyed to see the prodigal son return. Daniel's dairy farm has a stray voltage problem which even kills dairy cows. A new power line is needed, but the hydro (power) company won't do anything about it. The family eventually cuts off the power and uses home-generated power. Daniel's oldest son gets frustrated. This movie is more about dairy farming than harvesting, but I guess it makes a nice metaphor or something. What the family needs is an old-fashioned barn raising deal to build a new power line. Why won't the power company solve the problem? But remember that stray voltage is a problem in real life.
The Wild Pony (1983)
Family film of pioneer days
This was supposed to be in Colorado, but seems like it said it was filmed in Canada. A man goes to town and hangs out with some drinking buddies and gets killed by a rancher in defense. The man who killed him tells his widow that he'd help her if necessary. She later decides to marry him. The man wasn't expecting a request that drastic, but he agrees to it. The woman's boy is out hauling hay and sees a wild pony in a herd of wild horses and lets the team run away. But the rancher turns out to be a pretty good father. The boy eventually gets to have the wild pony for his own and the man and woman feel like they love each other.
The Stars Fell on Henrietta (1995)
Dust bowl oil drilling movie
Set in the 1930s at Henrietta, Texas, near Wichita Falls. Don Day is a farmer. He and his family are surviving on cornbread. Robert Duvall plays Mr. Cox, an oil prospecting expert. A realistic dust storm is shown. Mr. Cox tells Don Day that there is oil under his land, although the area is thought to be dry by the oil drilling industry. Don Day bets everything he has on striking oil. He pulls a drilling rig home with his Fordson. Mr. Cox is a decent sort of a man, but the oil drilling industry has some unsavory characters in it. They do strike oil, and pressure blows the pipes out of the ground. Don't know if this is a true story, but seems like it could have been.
A journey to undo mistreatment in one's past
The way I remember it, Meg Laurel was born in the Appalachians and suffered medical mistreatment from the local backwoods doctor. Later she became a successful woman doctor in the city. But she has nightmares of being mistreated in the Appalachians and figures she has no choice but to make a journey back to the Appalachians to provide modern medical care and make amends with the past that is haunting her. It seems that on the wagon trip up the mountains from the railroad, some of her stuff falls out of the wagon and down a cliff. She doesn't get along well with Granny Arrowroot. Most local people don't have anything to do with her, either. Eventually she and the hillbillies come to terms. She becomes ill herself and needs something that went over the cliff.
The Manhunter (1974)
1930s rural detective show
Back in the 1970s there were a LOT of detective shows and some nostalgia shows. The Manhunter was a detective show AND a nostalgia show. Dave Barrett was a private investigator. Actually, the show might have had a lot of stuff implanted into it, like the term "private investigator", from the 1970s and thus been somewhat unauthentic for the 1930s. Dave and his folks had a grain-and-potato farm in Idaho, as I recall. Kind of the middle of nowhere to be a private investigator. But Dave went to Kansas and Colorado and other places where there was crime. In one episode, Dave worked for a trucking company in Kansas to stop hijacking by a gang of criminals. In one episode, Dave and some locals were barricaded in a general store by a gang of criminals. One criminal decided to smash into the general store with a steam roller. Dave made a bomb to stop the steam roller. In one episode, Dave's father was pinned under his overturned Fordson and was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, there was a gang of criminals at the hospital....
Walking Tall (1981)
A good show in its own right.
I enjoyed Walking Tall on Saturday nights on NBC. It had a straightforward theme song. It had a Sheriff who would defeat evil any way he could, usually with a club. It was fun to tear down old buildings while pretending you were Buford Pusser. The Sheriff had children but no wife. It was a good show in its own right, and probably should have done as well without the Pusser names. In one show, the Sheriff cracked down on angel dust/PCP makers. That show would have fit right in with the meth problem of today. One show featured a Catholic priest who wouldn't tell what he had heard about a crime in a confession because he had taken a vow not to.
Fire on the Mountain (1981)
Buddy Ebsen and Ron Howard in modern-day Western
Young Billy Starr spends the summer with elderly John Vogelin (Buddy Ebsen) on a ranch in southern New Mexico. John has a '48-'50 Ford pickup. Cruza Peralta is John's young woman housekeeper. Lee Mackie (Ron Howard) is a land speculator who anticipates selling land to the United States government for military use. Lee has a Ford Bronco. Lee and Cruza attempt to form a relationship. John's ranch becomes commandeered by the government. John doesn't want to sell. The government rounds up John's cattle and sells them in El Paso. John isn't necessarily unpatriotic; he just wants things to stay as they are. John can't fight the government and win, and he doesn't want to adapt to a different way of life. What will become of him?
The Wild Country (1970)
Good Disney family film
This is a good Disney family film about the Tanner family: Jim the father (Steve Forrest), Kate the mother (Vera Miles), Virgil the older boy (Ron Howard) and Andrew the younger boy (Clint Howard). They take on farming in the West in the late 19th Century or early 20th Century. There is a tornado in the movie. There is a fight over irrigation water, and it seems the father got killed in it. The Wild Country is based on the book "Little Britches" by Ralph Moody. Ralph Moody's parents lived in New England and moved to the Littleton, Colorado, area, where there was an irrigation fight and Ralph's father died of bad health. Ralph wrote a number of books about his life, including "Horse of a Different Color," which tells about his experiences in the cattle feeding business in the McCook, Nebraska-Oberlin, Kansas area.
The Survivors (1983)
Nice movie, could have been better.
There was bound to be a movie like this in the early 1980s, a time of the Cold War, recession and survivalists. Walter Matthau plays Sonny Paluso, an ex-filling station operator. Kristen Vigard plays his teenage daughter Candice. Robin Williams plays Donald Quinelle. Donald and Sonny become friends. Donald gets put in the hospital. Donald says that being in the hospital makes him think about God. Donald gets fed up with modern civilization. Donald goes to a survivalist camp, even mushing sled dogs. Sonny goes to the camp with Candice to convince Donald that he is overreacting. The movie has a "happy ending" that seems somewhat phony. Perhaps that is why the movie is seldom shown.
An automotive romp in Louisiana
Big Bob Johnson is the fearless leader of his Fantastic Speed Circus. It is a Hell Drivers/Joie Chitwood-type show that goes to fairgrounds and racetracks. Bob has a Trans Am and a Peterbilt conventional with a flatbed trailer. Somehow Bob's team gets into a scavenger hunt in Lousiana. There's a Rolls-Royce in this movie. I remember Rodney Allen Rippy being a little black boy who doesn't know how to drive. But he has to get away in the Rolls-Royce from some guys, and he learns to drive really fast. The climax of the movie is jumping the Rolls-Royce onto the moving flatbed. Having mastered that, Bob wants to duplicate the stunt using the Trans Am in the Speed Circus.
Bad Georgia Road (1977)
Another moonshine running movie
I never caught the end of this, so I can't spoil it to you. Molly Golden is a New York socialite, whatever that is, who inherits an uncle's farm in Alabama. She thinks it will be like the rest of rural America: boring. When she gets there, she finds that her uncle had unpaid feed bills, etc., and that she is stuck with a farm that would be hard to sell for much money. "Most folks around here don't buy land: they inherit it." Arthur Pennyrich, the religious old moonshiner, tells her about the money to be made by keeping her uncle's shine business going. "You just take a little cornmeal, a little malt, ..." Leroy Hastings, the runner, is a crude clod who even eats fried eggs with his bare hands. He runs in a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner. The last thing a New York socialite would consider being is an illegal moonshiner. Is Molly moonshiner material? Molly is an impressionable senseless woman who hates work but loves thrills and money. She becomes a moonshiner, for better or worse.
Coast to Coast (1980)
Another trucker movie
I never caught the beginning of this movie, but obviously Madie Levrington (Dyan Cannon) escapes from a New York state mental hospital where her husband Benjamin had her committed to avoid the trial of an expensive divorce. Madie hitches a ride back to California with Charles Callahan (Robert Blake), a debt-ridden trucker. He drives a GMC General, yellow maybe. Maybe they met in Kansas City or they stopped in Kansas City to pick up some cattle. They eventually fall in love. But Madie steals the truck, cattle and all, leaving Charles behind, to go to her home in California. Charles hitches a ride and eventually catches up with the truck. He climbs into the open-top cattle trailer. But he can't stop Madie from back there. "I hate cows!" he says. Madie reaches her husband's home. The prospects don't look good for Benjamin.
Moonshine County Express (1977)
1970s moonshine running movie
The moonshiner father of three women is killed by a rival bootlegging syndicate, and the three daughters carry on the family business. In this movie are Susan Howard from Petrocelli and Dallas, Maureen McCormick from The Brady Bunch, and Claudia Jennings from some rather trashy movies. John Saxon plays J. B. Johnson, a hot rodder who, Dot says, is interested in only cars and women and goes as fast as he can with both of them. J. B. teaches Dot how to run shine in a nice hot Mustang, but she drives it into a body of water. J. B. drives a Dodge Challenger. It seems a rival runner drove a '70 Roadrunner with an "auxillary fuel tank" for hauling shine. And there was a hypocritical preacher who was really out to make money on shine. Well, the law enforcement is on the lookout, and if one shine business doesn't go out of business, the other one will.
The Thanksgiving Treasure (1973)
One of four Addie Mills stories
The Holiday Treasure (1973), The House Without a Christmas Tree (1972), The Easter Promise (1975) and Addie and the King of Hearts (1976) are the four CBS TV stories about Addie Mills based on books by Gail Rock. Set in post-World War II Clear River, Nebraska. On the Platte River, I guess. In The Holiday Treasure, Addie's dad Jamie, played by Jason Robards, is an earthmoving contractor. He once dug a stock pond (called a "dugout" in the Northern Plains, a "tank" in Texas) with his dragline for a Mr. Walter Rehnquist, who refused to pay for the pond because it never filled with water. Jamie claimed that he dug it where Rehnquist wanted it and that Rehnquist should pay. However, Addie befriends Rehnquist's horse named Treasure, and eventually befriends the cranky old codger who lives alone on a rundown farm, even taking him food for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember that Addie had a bratty little boy relative at Thanksgiving whose suit coat pockets she filled with mashed potatoes. The four stories cover Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Valentine's Day and grief, grudges, alcoholism and teenage crushes.
Mild-mannered high school movie
After the death of his father, high school student Adam Cummins moves with his mother and sister and maybe other children from their Wyoming sheep ranch to Los Angeles. Country comes to town. Kind of like in Foolin' Around. Soon after arriving, Adam gets mixed up with Clyde "Clutch" Turner, a mannerless bully who enjoys pulling pranks on Adam and putting him down for his rural image. Clyde has an old pre-'69 Ford Econoline van. Adam, in turn, gets back at Clyde on a number of occasions, and the two soon become rivals. Adam gets a job in a service station. The station has a tow truck. I remember it as a '55 or '56 Ford. Adam has a friend named Beaner who has a mo-ped which Clyde demolishes. Adam's sister goes out with Clyde to a drive-in theater. Adam and one of his friends tow them out with the tow truck. I guess Clyde's girlfriend abandons Clyde for Adam. Adam has a 1965 or 1966 Ford pickup. Clyde and Adam race their vehicles on the street illegally. You'd think Clyde's van would have a six and would be a dog, but I guess it would beat Adam's pickup. Adam tells his boss he wants to put a bigger engine in his pickup. So he gets about 400 cubic inches. He beats Clyde's van in a street race. Clyde gets mad and wants to race on the beach along the ocean. So they do, and Clyde has a wreck and is trapped in his van, and the tide is coming in. Adam steals a tow truck off the road, an ex-military ragtop Jeep truck. He maybe could have winched it out of the water, but he tries pulling it, and the wheels just spin in the sand. Will Adam save Clyde's life? Would Clyde and Adam become friends if he did? Will Adam stay in California or go back to Wyoming?
What Comes Around (1985)
1980s Jerry Reed time killer
What Comes Around starts with Jerry Reed (I don't remember what Reed's and Hopkins's characters' names were, and IMDb doesn't list them.) being maybe 17 or 18 years old or a little older in 1958 or so. He has a rockabilly band playing in a joint called The King of Clubs. Then a Colonel Tom Parker character takes him away from the home farm to make it big in the music business. Fast forward to the 1980s. Reed is in sort of the condition of Elvis before he died. Bo Hopkins, his brother, sets out to keep him from going down the drain. Arte Johnson is in this movie. Would you expect him in a country music movie? And a nice unmarried woman fan should help give old Jerry a new lease on life, shouldn't she? Reed owns a business venture with the Parker dude played by Barry Corbin. Reed wants to divide their interests. Parker doesn't. How does Jerry divide the business? Well, since this is a Jerry Reed movie, there's a good chance there's a diesel truck or bus in it somewhere. Well, I'll quit writing now. I've got a craving for cornbread.
For Those Who Remain (1999)
Watch this movie if all the Christians leave the earth at once!!
Watch this movie if all the Christians leave the earth at once!! If that hasn't happened and you care to read this review, here it is: (Gee, I think my pastor gave me this video to watch a few years ago.) This movie is for people who are still on earth after God has removed all the Christians before the 7-year Great Tribulation. Such people may be looking for guidance. For Those Who Remain (1999) was filmed in Los Angeles, Toronto and Jerusalem. Peter and Paul Lalonde have worked on the Left Behind films (2000 and later). Dave Breese from Kansas had an End Times radio program. He is clear on the gospel of how to become a Christian. Believe that Christ's death for the sins on mankind is applied to your account, and it is! Hal Lindsey was a best-selling author of End Times books. John Ankerberg hosted The John Ankerberg show. I caught it on TV a few times. It delved into a variety of theological topics. Maybe you can get John Ankerberg on the Web. John Walvoord from Dallas Theological Seminary was a contemporary leader in Premillennialism, which is the belief that Christ will come again to earth and reign over the earth for a thousand years. Zola Levitt was host of the TV series "Thy Kindom Come with Zola Levitt" and an author and composer. Not all of Christendom agrees that there will be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and it does sound kind of incredible when you think about it, but time will tell.
In Cold Blood (1996)
About time for a good remake
The 1967 In Cold Blood was perhaps more like "the real thing" (Think about it: would we really want to see the real thing?), but it was black and white in a color world, and a lot of people didn't even know what it was, and there was an opportunity to remake it for television. Plus, if you remake it, you can show some stuff not shown in the original. The book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was the first "nonfiction novel". Truman's book was in fact not 100% true to the real story. I thought the Canadian location sufficed for Kansas pretty much for a TV movie. Look for the elements of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll: Dick's womanizing, Perry being an aspirin junkie, Perry playing blues guitar.
Black Oak Conspiracy (1977)
Little-seen good-old-boy movie
I caught only the last part of this on television once. I'm going to have to wing it. Jesse Vint is the star playing the hero, Jingo. Jesse Vint has had a lot of roles, including a starring one in Macon County Line. Well, it seems old Jingo left his hometown of Black Oak and became a stuntman, a good occupation for a good old boy. Then it seems that for some reason old Jingo comes back to his hometown of Black Oak. Then it seems that naturally his old friends and family treat him as a hometown boy who went out into the world and done good. Jingo drives a black El Camino with sidepipes (This was the '70s!). But it seems that things are not quite right in Black Oak. It seems that people are dying suspiciously, etc., etc. Well, naturally the locals are helpless to do anything about whatever is going on. Well, naturally it takes a world-wise outsider like Jingo to investigate and see that there is a conspiracy in Black Oak. And just what is the Black Oak conspiracy? Why, it's a money-making racket designed to get money from the Black Oak residents from the cradle to the grave! It's worse than just death and taxes! As I recall, Jingo had an old friend who was a cop, and Jingo put a potato in his exhaust pipe so Jingo could go somewhere and the cop couldn't. And then there was this strip mine with big Terex trucks in it, and naturally Jingo has to have a showdown there like Arnold Schwartzenegger in Raw Deal. Well, I wouldn't be surprised if Jingo plumb wipes out this Black Oak conspiracy. I wouldn't be surprised if his friend the cop had a couple potatoes to stick in a certain place for fun, either.