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(2001) (Dylan McDermott, James Van Der Beek) (PG-13)

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Action/Adventure: A legendary Texas Ranger leads a group of young, inexperienced men into battle against various 19th century renegade outlaws.
It's 1875 Texas and bands of renegade outlaws are pillaging towns, murdering townsfolk and stealing their cattle that they then sell across the border in Mexico. Accordingly, the governor of Texas orders the former state lawmen, the Texas Rangers, re-commissioned and wants their former leader and local preacher, Leander McNelly (DYLAN McDERMOTT), to head them up once more to take care of this problem.

Having lost his family to the bandits and dying of consumption, Leander is hesitant, but eventually agrees, and begins assembling, with his assistants Sergeant John Armstrong (ROBERT PATRICK) and Frank Bones (RANDY TRAVIS), a new group of lawmen. Among them are Lincoln Rogers Dunnison (JAMES VAN DER BEEK) and George Durham (ASHTON KUTCHER), both of whom are now orphans due to the work of the outlaws, as well as Scipio (USHER RAYMOND), a freed slave who wants to prove he's better as a rifleman than as a scout.

As the group sets out to find the outlaws and their leader, John King Fisher (ALFRED MOLINA), they have various encounters with small bands of bandits, and eventually rescue Perdita (LEONOR VARELA), a Mexican circus acrobat from their grasp. Needing to regroup at the estate of Leander's friend, Richard Dukes (TOM SKERRITT), Lincoln and George become enamored with his pretty and high-minded daughter, Caroline (RACHEL LEIGH COOK).

From that point on, the Texas Rangers must overcome long odds, deception and various perilous encounters as they try to find and stop both Fisher and his men.

If they're into westerns or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
For western violence.
  • DYLAN McDERMOTT plays the head of the Texas Rangers who deploys his own brand of justice while dealing with the bandits. He also uses some profanity and is dying of tuberculosis.
  • JAMES VAN DER BEEK plays a young man who joins the Rangers to avenge his family's murders at the hands of the bandits. Accordingly, he shoots and kills many of them.
  • ASHTON KUTCHER plays his somewhat loopy friend who also joins the Rangers, but is less of a killer than Lincoln. He also uses some profanity and becomes fond of Caroline.
  • ROBERT PATRICK plays one of Leander's right-hand men who also engages the enemy and has a racist attitude toward Scipio.
  • RANDY TRAVIS plays another of Leander's right-hand men who also smokes.
  • USHER RAYMOND plays a former slave who constantly complains about the treatment he receives due to being a black man and sets out to prove he's the best shot in the bunch. He also smokes a few times.
  • ALFRED MOLINA plays the nefarious leader of the bandits who's responsible for hundreds of murders.
  • TOM SKERRITT plays a friend of Leander's.
  • RACHEL LEIGH COOK plays his comely and high-minded daughter who draws the attention of Lincoln and George.
  • LEONOR VARELA plays a Mexican circus acrobat kidnapped by the bandits who eventually betrays the Rangers (to save her own hide) after they rescue her.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief look at the content found in this Western that's been rated PG-13. Like most such films, this one's filled with Western-style violence that includes many people being shot and killed in gun battles. Others are killed or wounded by knives and explosives. While the majority of such mayhem is blood free, we do see some bloody results as well as many sights of dead bodies on the ground or hanging from trees. Those scenes and others, including some moments where people threaten to kill others, may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Some of that violence leads to various young men losing their entire families, but there's little familial grieving. Both the bandits and, on occasion, the lawmen have bad attitudes for killing and stealing from others. Profanity consists of at least 3 uses of the "s" word and other expletives, while some non-explicit sexual innuendo and/or comments are also present. Meanwhile, a sultry looking woman shows some cleavage and briefly gives herself a non-graphic, but mildly sensuous sponge bath, while various characters drink or smoke.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the content it contains.

  • Leander drinks from a flask, trying to soothe his bad cough.
  • We see some men passing a bottle of liquor between them.
  • Lincoln states that after the enemy forces have liquor and women all night, they'll be craving sleep.
  • A few people (out of many) who are shot have a tiny bit of blood on them.
  • A man's mouth is bloody after being shot.
  • Lincoln has a dried cut on his head.
  • Throughout the film, we see various dead bodies on the ground, hanging from trees, or in other locations (but most are freshly dead and not gross looking).
  • Armstrong has some blood on his face, while another man is rather bloody during a gun battle/fight.
  • We see a little bit of blood on a wall that a man slowly slides down after being shot.
  • Fisher and his large network of bandits obviously have extreme cases of both types of attitudes as they kill people, pillage towns and steal cattle.
  • The head of a vigilante group states that they don't have a "Yankee, nigger or Mexican" among them.
  • Armstrong initially has a racist attitude toward Scipio.
  • Leander dispenses his own brand of justice, killing various prisoners rather than taking them back for a trial.
  • Some viewers might not like Fisher telling Leander, "Go with God, McNelly, if the son of a bitch will have you."
  • Perdita lies to the rangers and even injures one, but seemingly does so in an effort to ensure her safety from the bandits.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers, although most of that will depend on their reaction to standard Western violence.
  • After Lincoln walks into a small town and finds property damage and bodies on the ground (the result of previous violence), he hears a noise in a building and goes to investigate.
  • Leander threatens to hang two bandits who are standing on the backs of horses, and then does so (we briefly see their bodies twitching while hanging from a tree).
  • When the rangers return to a battle scene, they see that the bandits have hanged the remains of various dead rangers from trees.
  • Leander prepares to execute a female traitor and then threatens to shoot the man protecting her (neither happens, but he comes close to pulling the trigger).
  • Fisher shoots both guns from Leander's hands and prepares to shoot him at point blank range, but Lincoln then aims his gun at Fisher, resulting in a brief standoff.
  • Pistols/Rifles/Shotguns/Knives/Gatling guns/Dynamite: Used to threaten, wound or kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Nigger" (said by a white man), "The hell she was" and "What the hell are you doing?"
  • Armstrong loudly belches while eating.
  • The film could inspire kids to imitate all of the shoot 'em up action.
  • George suddenly pops up and holds a gun on Lincoln.
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, dramatic and action-oriented music plays during the film.
  • None.
  • At least 3 "s" words, 6 damns, 6 hells, 5 S.O.B.s, 1 ass, 2 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • Armstrong states that Lincoln rides a horse "like he rides his sister," adding that he knows he's doing something wrong.
  • Scipio asks Lincoln if there's anything he's good at, with Lincoln cockily stating that he is, but that it doesn't seem like they're going to meet any women along the way (possible sexual reference).
  • We see Lincoln in a large washtub, but due to the camera angle, we don't see any nudity (that may have been covered up by the water anyway).
  • Armstrong catches sight of Perdita giving herself something of a sponge bath and we see a great deal of her upper thigh while she does so. She later shows some abundant cleavage.
  • When she's later captured, she tells a man to kill her, but then suspiciously asks if he's going to "have" her first.
  • Perdita tells a bandit that she did what he asked of her (in nonsexual matters), and he then adds that she'll do what he says tonight and tomorrow and maybe they'll charge admission (possible sexual reference).
  • Lincoln states that after the enemy forces have had liquor and women all night, they'll be craving sleep.
  • As an attack begins, we briefly see Fisher in bed with a woman (thus suggesting earlier sex).
  • Frank and Scipio each smoke a few times, while various others characters also occasionally smoke.
  • We hear that when Leander returned from the Civil War, his wife and three sons were gone, all taken (killed) by bandits.
  • Lincoln sees his family killed before his eyes, while we also see that George has lost his entire family (all at the hands of bandits). Neither, however, seems terribly upset after the fact about any of that.
  • Fisher shoots a man who claims to be Perdita's husband (but we don't know if that's true or not).
  • We hear that most of the young men who've joined the rangers are orphans.
  • The real-life story of the Texas Rangers and the real Leander McNelly.
  • Revenge.
  • Consumption (tuberculosis).
  • Life in the American West of the 19th century.
  • Being orphaned.
  • Fisher and his men open fire on the residents of a small town, killing everyone there except for Lincoln (and we thus see many people being shot, but there isn't much blood).
  • Lincoln walks into a small town and finds property damage and bodies on the ground (the result of previous violence).
  • A man prepares to shoot Leander, but the ranger shoots him several times first, killing him.
  • After they make Perdita juggle some objects (that a man then shoots from the sky), Fisher shoots a man who claims to be Perdita's husband (the impact is not seen) while one of his associates scoops up Perdita as she tries to run away.
  • A spy pulls a gun on Leander. Lincoln tries to intervene, but the man knocks him to the ground where he keeps his boot pressed down onto his neck. Leander then spins around and throws a knife that strikes the assassin in the chest, killing him.
  • The rangers and various bandits get into a shootout, with various people being hit and some horses falling. During this, a bandit prepares to shoot George, but someone else shoots that man who then falls on George's knife. A man then fires a Gatling gun at the rangers before Scipio shoots and kills him.
  • Leander has two bandits hung (we briefly see their bodies twitching while hanging from a tree).
  • Leander leads his men on an attack against bandits, firing upon them as they ride up. The bandits fire back and many people are shot and wounded or killed, especially when the bandits call up reinforcements. During this, we see many people being shot (mostly blood free, although there are a few bloody victims), with some falling from horses or trees, one man hits Armstrong on the face with his rifle (and then hits him on the ground), and we later hear that 12 rangers were killed.
  • When the rangers return they see that the bandits have hanged the remains of those dead rangers from trees.
  • Perdita stabs Armstrong in the leg with a knife and then flees. Lincoln then chases after her, eventually lassoing her and yanking her from a horse drawn carriage, sending her falling to the ground rather hard. He then pins her to the ground.
  • Rangers find various dead bodies on the ground at a ranch where the bandits have just been.
  • Men open fire on Lincoln and Scipio.
  • We see that the bad guys have beat up a man they now have bound and atop a horse with a noose around his neck (he's eventually hanged).
  • Leander prepares to execute a female traitor and then threatens to shoot the man protecting her (neither happens, but he comes close to pulling the trigger).
  • Scipio throws a knife that impales a man, and then throws that man off a ledge into the river below.
  • The rangers rush a fort, throwing dynamite against it and into it, blowing open doors and injuring or killing various people. A large-scale gun battle then breaks out where many people are shot and wounded or killed, with a man trying to shoot Leander with a shotgun (Leander shoots him dead instead). A man nearly shoots Lincoln, but Perdita stabs the shooter in the back.
  • Fisher shoots both guns from Leander's hands and prepares to shoot him at point blank range, but Lincoln then aims his gun at Fisher, resulting in a brief standoff.
  • A man shoots another man dead and then shoots him several more times.
  • Frank shoots many people with a Gatling gun.

  • Reviewed November 30, 2001 / Posted December 1, 2001

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