The Shadow Riders (1982)

Written by John Chard on January 2, 2017

The Traven Brothers.

The Shadow Riders is directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and adapted to screenplay by Jim Byrnes from the novel written by Louis L'Amour. It stars Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Katharine Ross, Dominique Dunne, Ben Johnson and Geoffrey Lewis. Music is by Jerrold Immel and cinematography by Jack Whitman.

A CBS TV production, The Shadow Riders has Selleck (Mac Traven) and Elliott (Dal Traven) as brothers, who even though they fought on different sides in the Civil War, there fondness for each other still exists. With the war now officially ended, the brothers meet up and head for the family home, here they find their parents telling of how their sisters and Dal's girlfriend Kate (Ross) have been abducted by Renegade Rebels. The men promptly set off in search of their loved ones...

It's all very much standard stuff, both in plot telling and production values. Exuding very much a family feel, it's a disappointingly bloodless and sexless picture, with some cliché'd dialogue, poor musical accompaniments to certain scenes (tonally way off) and filler sequences thrown in for good measure. That said, it's very much a harmless piece, with the two male leads good company to share some time with, while Johnson and Harry Carey Jr. offer up a welcoming presence. Location scenery is also well photographed, keeping things airy, and ultimately it's a decent enough time waster for Western fans not expecting an under seen gem. 6/10