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» » Crossfire Trail (2001)

Short summary

Rafe Covington promises a dying friend that he'll watch over the man's wife and ranch after he's gone. When Rafe gets to his friend's ranch, he finds that Barkow, the local power in town, wants not only the ranch but the woman, too, and hires a gang of gunfighters to make sure he gets both.

Wilford Brimley, as Joe Gill, carries an unusual Evans repeating rifle. The Evans rifle, invented by Warren R. Evans of Thomaston, Maine, was produced only from 1873 to 1879. Gill, who admits to not being a very good shot, says he likes it because he can fire 28 shots before having to reload.

Before becoming an actor Wilford Brimley had been a blacksmith.

The actor playing the ships Captain in the beginning did all of his own stunts in the fight with Tom Selleck. His name is Mark Acheson.

Tom Selleck wears a similar style gun-holster like the one wore by Rory Calhoun in Red Sundown (1956).

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Gtonydne
    This was an excellent western that was beautifully photographed. This looks absolutely stunning on DVD and provides some of the prettiest scenery I've ever viewed on film.

    With Tom Selleck in the lead and supporting help from Virginia Madsen, Wilfred Brimley, Mark Harmon and others, this is a good cast for this made-for-cable TV movie. There wasn't much action in here but a lot of tension as Selleck fights off bad-guy Harmon, who is trying to marry Madsen because of the oil-rich property she owns (and is unaware how valuable it is).

    My only complaint is that this is a frustrating story to watch at many intervals because for most of the film Madsen does not believe Selleck, who is just trying to help. Selleck does his normal excellent portrayal of a rugged cowboy.

    Overall, a good movie and highly-recommended for western fans.
  • comment
    • Author: The Apotheoses of Lacspor
    I just caught the DVD version of "Crossfire Trail" and enjoyed it immensely. It is a western of the old school full of action, romance slimy villains and hard ridin'.

    Tom Selleck stars as Rafe Covington who has made a promise to a dying friend to look after his ranch and his wife (Virginia Madsen) after he is gone. Along with his two pals (David O'Hara, Christian Kane), Covington sets up shop on said ranch. Joining the trio is crusty old Wilford Brimley (barely recognizable) as a former ranch hand. Unfortunately, villain Mark Harmon also has designs on the aforementioned ranch and widow. When Selleck proves to be a formidable opponent, Harmon brings in gunfighter Brad Johnson to settle things which of course, leads to the inevitable showdown.

    The scenery, shot in western Canada, is beautiful and unspoiled. The town (looking suspiciously like the one in "Unforgiven"(1992) looks like a real dusty western town and the costumes and make-up have been created authenticly as well. The acting is good all round and the action scenes are as exciting and well staged as any I've seen.

    Barry Corbin as the town's drunken sheriff and William Sanderson as the bartender are excellent in featured roles.

    "Crossfire Trail" is a western lovers delight. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
  • comment
    • Author: Uranneavo
    That Homer of the American Western, Louis L'Amour, has always been good to actor-producer Tom Selleck. CROSSFIRE TRAIL is a well produced motion picture that in another era would have been a well-received theatrical motion picture release. Regrettably, the climate at movie box office doesn't support westerners of such classic pedigree, and it is to TNT Original Productions credit that they have allowed this film to find its venue and audience.

    The production is impeccable, as is the cast, with special attention given to the lead actor Tom Selleck. While success on the silver screen eluded him, Selleck still shows why he continues to be the best actor working in traditional Westerners and the natural successor to such screen legends as Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, and John Wayne. Any of those actors would have felt quite at home with the hero of this film, Rafael Covington, a man of few word and an unbending code of honor.

    Supporting Selleck are the vibrant Virginia Masden, Mark Harmon, Brad Johnson, David O'Hara, Patrick Kilpatrick as well as the always welcomed presence of those two ever-reliable veteran actors, Wilford Brimley and Barry Corben.

    For Australian director Simon Wincer and star Tom Selleck, CROSSFIRE TRAIL is a re-union since they collaborated in the highly entertaining and grossly neglected QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER. Wincer brings his typically excellent eye to period detail and visual meise en scene that he used so successfully in his groundbreaking epic LONESOME DOVE.

    Again, if you haven't seen this film, then by all means, do so. If you have, then go back a savor of well-done effort. You will be well rewarded in either case.
  • comment
    • Author: Quamar
    The Western is a dying genre and it never ceases to amaze me that it is so. It is being displaced by the cops 'n robbers, grisly hero shoot'em-ups and a variety of other overly violent superhero vehicles. As a kid, I grew up on Westerns and could not get enough of them. The bad guys always wore black hats and the hero, like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others always wore the white hats coming to the rescue of the ladies at the last moment. Villains were slime-suckers and deserved all they got. I mean, who could even feel a twinge of regret when Joel McCrea shot Brian Donlevy in the Virginian after he engineered Sonny Tufts getting hung? Well, this film loosely based on a Louis L'Amour story takes us back to a time when heros were just that: bigger than life figures that placed honor, decency and the love of their horses above the petty greed and avarice of the weaker villains. Selleck is outstanding in this role as Rafe Covington who comes to "take care of" the widow of a friend (whom we later learn he knew but a short time). What commitment! Now, we get some growls here from the peanut gallery from some who fail to understand the archetype the Western Hero is based on and even one faithful Louis L'Amour fan who cries foul at the departures from the original. OK. We can let that go. Someone observes that Selleck leaving his Magnum PI role is a "natural" for Westerns. I second that! He does. His pals, veteran character actor Wilfred Brimley, Kane and O'Hara add texture to the hero role while the villains are outright scumbags, especially usual good-guy Mark Harmon and refugee from the rapture, Brad Johnson (glad he made it out of the apocalypse). These baddies are REAL bad. Cheap made-for-TV has-been Western flick? No way, José. This is FINE entertainment and I wish they had a lot more of it.
  • comment
    • Author: GoodBuyMyFriends
    As an enthusiastic 'Western watcher' for over sixty years, I think that this one stands comparison with some of the great ones. Good acting by a strong cast, attention to detail and authenticity and the superb photography (ably enhanced by the scenery !!) make this a 'must-see '

    Yes, the story isn't exactly original, but so what ? Tom Selleck fits the scene like a character from a Remington painting and what superbly crafted gems of villainy are portrayed without resort to excessive brutality or foul language. This how they should be made.
  • comment
    • Author: Spilberg
    This was a surprise gem that we rented on dvd. The directing and cinematography are excellent. Mark Harmon is wonderfully evil. Tom Selleck the hero....but with support of friends. Great cast all around. Beautiful scenery. A very enjoyable movie.
  • comment
    • Author: Cashoutmaster
    If it wasn't for QUIGLEY, DOWN UNDER, CROSSFIRE TRAIL would be my favorite western. Tom Selleck easily slips into the type of role he seems born to play. Not many current actors look right at home in a western, but Selleck is one who does. He looks like he stepped right out of the 1800s. Mark Harmon makes an appropriate ass as the bad guy, and the beautiful Virginia Madsen is gorgeous as the school teacher Harmon plans to marry and Selleck has vowed (to her dead husband) to protect. The talented and underused Brad Johnson is a good villain as well, a hired gun Harmon brings in to kill Selleck. Good performances from all, and excellent score as well, by Eric Colvin, that deserves a soundtrack release. The Vancouver locations are a surprisingly-good stand-in for Wyoming, and director Simon Wincer (who should be the person to call when a western needs to be made) gives the film a nice pace with an exciting climax, intercutting between two shootouts. Seeing as how this was the highest-rated original cable movie in history when it debuted, I hope to see more Selleck/Wincer team-ups in the future.
  • comment
    • Author: Kagalkree
    The performances were non-cliche (a rarity in westerns), script was tight, locations in Calgary were beyond stupendous, and Tom Selleck brings a humanity to a tough cowboy that few actors, if any, can bring. He's the most charismatic and likeable of all leading western actors today. Best television show I've seen in ten years. Hats off to TNT for the foresight.
  • comment
    • Author: fabscf
    Tom Selleck, kinda like Sam Elliott, was born to star in Westerns. He and the rest of this marvellous cast bring another Louis L'Amour western to vibrant life. Tom is great as the straight-shooting (in both ways) hero who does whatever it takes to keep his promise to a dying friend. Mark Harmon is delightfully smarmy as the vile villain, and Virginia Madsen makes a great schoolmarm. Production values are very high for a TV movie, and the photography is gorgeous. Like in all good westerns, the scenery almost becomes another character. Kudos to Turner for their continued efforts to produce topnotch television drama!
  • comment
    • Author: Nilador
    I don't like modern Westerns. Even as meticulously accurate a history as 1993's Tombstone, with all the contributing artists turning in splendid job performances, left me cold because at the end of the movie all that stayed with me was the mind-numbing brutality of ceaseless violence.

    Spoiler warning.

    Crossfire Trail has its share of violence, including a climactic firefight, but there is a gentleness and intelligence to Charles Robert Carner's screenwriting that overcame the cliches of Louis Lamour's original story. Come on. Is there a more hoary melodrama than the one about the evil banker using a mortgage to blackmail a beautiful widow? All that's missing from this choice of villain is mustache twirling and maniacal laughing. But given that genre prescription, Carner instead gives us an epistemological mystery: the widow has to use her powers of deductive reasoning to figure out whether the handsome banker is trying to protect her from a con man trying to take advantage of her grief, or whether the handsome stranger claiming to be fulfilling a promise to her dead husband is there to protect her interests from the banker.

    The cast, led off by Tom Selleck and Virginia Madsen, is ably assisted by Wilford Brimley and Mark Harmon, among others. The directing is good, the photography suitably expansive. But this production deserves special kudos for getting the details of the old West dead-on accurate, with every firearm being portrayed historically accurately, and even details of costuming showing loving care. Moreover, I haven't seen that many westerns with dialogue discussing Beethoven, and poetry quoted from Milton. It's nice to see, for once, that just because a cowboy could get physical he wasn't necessarily an ignorant moron.

    This is a Western that could have been made in the golden age of Westerns. It overcame my skepticism and I give it a rating of 8 out of 10.
  • comment
    • Author: Arcanefist
    Tom Selleck and co-stars did honor to Mr.L'Amour's story. It is time Westerns made a come back- lots of action-no raunchy sex- no filthy language-the good guy wins. The scenery is beautiful-though the houses looked fake-and the history was on target. If I wore a hat I'd tip it to all involved with the making of Crossfire Trail- Now Mr Selleck and Sam Elliot need to make one together. Thank You for some good entertainment.
  • comment
    • Author: Yadon
    I enjoyed this. Nothing out of the ordinary. Great Casting. Sellect and Brimley are very enjoyable and believable. Great scenery. Nicely shot. This is a western. Black and white are the paint of choice. And after perusing the 24hr moviechannels line up I truly am amazed how many truly bad movies are made. This isn't one of them. Plus the added bonus was these actors left the "open range" pretty much the way the came in. Respectful and Gracious.
  • comment
    • Author: Levaq
    What a great movie. Since I was a small child, the genre of the cowboy western has enthrawled me. The photography is incredible, being filmed in the Canadian Rockies shows the unspoiled West, the love of the land they show in trying to protect and use it wisely. Authentic clothing and weaponry enhance the enjoyment of the picture. I believe the same director was in Quigley Down Under. After all, what else do you need if you have Cowboys, guns, horses, good guys and bad guys. I hope Mr. Selleck continues to make fine westerns. Everyone that has seen this movie has come away impressed with the quality and timeless story of honoring a promise and carrying it out. Doing what is right, even though the consequences may be high. Thank you all to those that help make this picture, and thankyou to Turner Network Television.
  • comment
    • Author: Blackseeker
    This is an above average western drama. Although many plot elements are predictable, particularly the shoot-em-up ending, the film has many strengths. Tom Selleck and Mark Harmon give excellent performances. Selleck, unlike his Thomas Magnum character of years ago, portrays the lead as a thoughtful, reserved character with considerable depth. Harmon perfectly portrays the smarmy, conniving bad guy. Wilford Brimley, although fatter than ever, delivers a strong performance as usual.

    Especially watch and enjoy the beautiful location photography. The ending credits were invisible (squashed on the screen) when I watched the film, so I'm not sure of the shooting locales - even if they were included. But the high altitude and mountain scenery is spectacular. As is often the case today the music soundtrack (though fine)is too loud, making it difficult to catch all of the dialogue in places.
  • comment
    • Author: playboy
    This was truly enjoyable.

    Wonderfully cast with Selleck, Brimley, Madsen and Mark Harmon.

    It was wonderfully directed (two examples: the tension felt during normal duties on the morning that the assassin goes out to Madsen's ranch, and the photography of the steeple of the church/schoolhouse and the ranch itself from various elevations).

    I loved the use of horses and cattle during the gunfire. I liked the realism of people having to reload.

    I loved the story itself - the simplicity is very believable.

    Just excellent - I thank Tom Selleck as Executive Producer for helping to bring this to the screen - and for going for such a high quality cast and director. One thing I've always liked about Selleck is the modesty and restraint of his acting - it's very evident here. And one thing I've always liked about Madsen is that she is so scrumptious (!) and that's very evident here too! Mark Harmon is one of my favorite actors, and his big smile, manifest charm make the events that occurred prior to the movie - seem very believable.

    I loved this - thanks! I'll certainly watch out for any other Tom Selleck westerns (this was the first I'd seen).
  • comment
    • Author: Truthcliff
    The music in this film was some of the most beautiful I've heard in years. Rich! Reminiscent of true talent in a bygone era of Hollywood. Hope to hear more from this guy! Will this soundtrack ever be available to the public?
  • comment
    • Author: Froststalker
    For those who thought his career began and ended with Magnum, P.I., it's a pleasant surprise to find Tom Selleck has become a credible and familiar face in--surprise, surprise--westerns. This classic Louis L'Amour story seems tailor made for the tall, rugged actor who is apparently just as comfortable on a horse as in a Ferrari. With Mark Harmon playing the essential villain, Virginia Madsen playing the not-so-helpless widow, Selleck gives us the quintessential western hero, an average guy just trying to make good on a promise to a dead friend. While the gunplay may not be appropriate for young children, this is a film with both high quality of production and high quality of content for all viewers.
  • comment
    • Author: WinDImmortaL
    I am an avid fan of westerns. No one is a bigger fan of the greats like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Clint Eastwood, however if we are going to be realistic about westerns I have to go with Tom Selleck's characters. He does a great job. This classic has been researched very well. I am also a gun enthusiast and the weaponry was VERY accurate in this and all of the movies done by Selleck and Wincer. I also like the attention to detail concerning little things that Louis L'amour would pay attention to. If you will remember when Rafe braced Snake Corville he pulled the leather thong off of the hammer of his sixgun(which I think was a Smith and Wesson). This is a re-occurring theme in L'amour's books.This movie may never get the praise it deserves in the world of westerns but what a great one it is. I hope Tom Selleck does more of these.
  • comment
    • Author: Vut
    A surprisingly well done Louis L'Amour western with an excellent cast. Tom Selleck is especially good in westerns settings and here he is supported by a strong cast including, Wilford Brimley, Brad Johnson, David O'Hara, Virginia Madsen and an evil Mark Harmon. The scenery is outstanding with vivid colors of the outdoors. Well directed. I recommend this film to all ages. My rating is an 8.
  • comment
    • Author: Syleazahad
    Any western with Tom Selleck in it is a good movie. He has the swagger and carries himself in a way you would expect a real cowboy to act. This was a really good story.These are just good ol boys trying to carry out the promise that was made to a dying friend. There is trouble they have to work through to keep that promise, but a real cowboy never goes back on his word. I admit I mainly got this to see #ChristianKane. This was when he was younger, but he played the green cow hand perfectly. Did not like the story line for his character. I read in an interview that at one point Christian fell off his horse and Tom looked down and said to get back on. lol! But over all this is a great movie! #kaniacforlife
  • comment
    • Author: Yanki
    Another excellent western with Tom Selleck. Starts out a little odd with the opening scenes being on a ship at sea. Several of the crew have obviously been shanghaied and one is dying. Tom swears to help the dying man's widow. After beating the snot out of the captain for letting Charley die and taking their pay, Tom and two others set out for Charley's ranch. They arrive and start fixing the place up. Wilford Brimley shows up as a great old timer!! I love his character in this movie!! Mark Harmon plays a smooth, suave bad man. Trying to use his manners to win over the widow, played by Virginia Madson. Harmon makes a great snake in this film!! Everyone learns you don't screw with Tom in a movie. Called out by one of Harmon's men, he kill's the man, after giving him several chances, and kills another on a roof who is laying in ambush. As the movie goes on you see a cow being pulled out of a tar pit and then it is apparent why Harmon wants the ranch, oil!!! Since the killings by Selleck Harmon has sent for some paid killer, bushwhacker types. The scum of the old west, like Tom Horn. Harmon starts felling the pressures so he tells Madson to wear the white dress,she has not only been married but had a kid,and they will marry the next day. The bushwhacker goes out and murders one of the men. Big mistake as you would expect in a movie such as this. Harmon grabs Madson, goes to the bar where the sheriff/justice of the peace is. Forcing the vows they are married. I love the rest as Madson fights Harmon until he knocks her out. After they bury the dead kid the remaining three load up and head for town. So the bushwhacker shows his true colors when he rides his horse in to a church to get position for another ambush. He has placed his two sycophants at strategic points in town. Man what a show down!! The bad guys die, the good guys win, and all turns out as expected.
  • comment
    • Author: DarK-LiGht
    I am surprised this got such a high user rating vote here. Wishful thinking and blindness to the movie's faults must account for it.

    The beginning of the movie was confusing and unnecessary. Then things got better and interesting. Then the movie slowly and surely gets worse and worse. It developed into an unbelievable mess with bits and pieces reminiscent of better movies (saving the Indian princess, hiring the famous out-of-town killer with the black outfit, the town folk rising up at the end to defend justice, driving cattle into town during a gunfight, etc. -- Blahh!). This is the worst Tom Selleck or TV western that I can recall.

    Good were: the cinematography, isolated dialogue and scholarly allusions and most of the acting. Mark Harmon gave his usual adept and likable performance, IF HE WERE IN A DIFFERENT MOVIE.

    Everything else was quite poor. I blame the screenplay and direction most. Harmon's character's actions were so over the top and incredible, it was shocking. Unbelievable and poorly motivated were almost everything -- the men working a ranch that wasn't theirs, the mortgage on the place, the "courtship" of Madsen, the death of her husband, etc. The tactics and movements in the gun fights were silly/unconvincing. Another thing I didn't like, but typical of many movies, is that Selleck and Madsen didn't initially have an honest conversation dealing with all the facts of the situation; instead they let the information drag out in bits and pieces to prolong the story.
  • comment
    • Author: Invissibale
    All of the comments about Tom Selleck that have been made by other posters are absolutely right - he is the ultimate western hero. This film is the other half of "Quigley Down Under" and comes very close to being as 'painterly' as regards locations, lighting and photography as "Heaven's Gate". There was nothing about this film to alarm even the most delicate sensibilities and, for those with sons growing up, exposure to these two Selleck films might give the lads a glimpse of the kind of man it could be a matter of pride to emulate rather than the dubious 'heroes' of modern film and fiction whose crass brutality does none of us any good. L'Amour had a very precise understanding of what it took to be a man and everyone involved in "Crossfire Trail" translated his ideal perfectly onto film.
  • comment
    • Author: LONUDOG
    Continuing in the long line of making great movies based on Louis L'Amour western novels, Tom Selleck faithfully presents "Crossfire Trail" the tale of a honest man who keeps his word to a dying man. Selleck is Rafe Covington, a tough western cowboy who meets a shanghaied rancher on the high seas. Brutally taken by force, the dying man extracts a promise from Covington to care over his wife, and to keep his ranch. Arriving back in the dying mans town, Covington discovers a plot to steal the widow's land and the hidden treasure contained within.

    While these made for TV movies based on L'Amours' novels may seem simplistic, fans of Louis L'Amour will come to recognize the simple themes of honesty, faithfulness, and keeping your word. As with the other movies based on L'Amours' novels (The Sackett series) Selleck is faithfully bringing the original themes to television. Another great movie from Selleck's production company. Let's hope Tom keeps making movies out of Louis L'Amour novels.
  • comment
    • Author: Doath
    As a western star, selleck is right up there with john wayne. He has wayne's size and no nonsense no talk attitude. Nevertheless, this is not a great movie since the story is as old as the hills. As usual, the real stars here are the villains and mark harmon and brad johnson do a great job there. Virginia madsen plays the damsel in distress but was disappointing since she, at least in this movie, is not that pretty.

    The big shootout is something of a joke. As in all westerns you have gunmen hiding behind the flimsiest of barricades while blasting away. How is a wagon wheel gonna protect you? A couple of the bad guys just stand behind the swinging doors to the saloon and fire away! The wood must be all of a quarter inch thick. I give this movie a B.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Tom Selleck Tom Selleck - Rafe Covington
    Virginia Madsen Virginia Madsen - Ann Rodney
    Wilford Brimley Wilford Brimley - Joe Gill
    David O'Hara David O'Hara - Rock Mullaney
    Christian Kane Christian Kane - J.T. Langston
    Barry Corbin Barry Corbin - Sheriff Walter Moncrief
    Joanna Miles Joanna Miles - Melissa Thompson
    Ken Pogue Ken Pogue - Gene Thompson
    Patrick Kilpatrick Patrick Kilpatrick - Mike Taggart
    Rex Linn Rex Linn - Luke Taggart
    William Sanderson William Sanderson - Dewey (the bartender)
    Daniel Parker Daniel Parker - Taggart Gang (as Daniel T. Parker)
    Marshall R. Teague Marshall R. Teague - Snake Corville (as Marshall Teague)
    Brad Johnson Brad Johnson - Beau Dorn
    Mark Harmon Mark Harmon - Bruce Barkow
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