Warden of Red Rock
The “Warden of Red Rock” is John Flinders (James Caan), a humane, stern man who oversees the prison (red Rock) in the territory of Arizona (set in 1910). This is a period piece that dates back to the old westerns that had tales of morality concerning human wellfare and true love.
Prisoner Mike Sullivan (David Carradine) is transfered to Red Rock, and we learn that he and John were old criminal friends, which now juxtaposes thier friendship on the account that Mike still deals in the life of crime and John is completely straight. This complicates matters when Mike forms a team of unified prisoners to rise up and escape, thus pitting the old friends at each other in the finale.
As a subplot, John executes a man in the beginnin of the film, and at the request of the about-to-be hanged man, he promises to return his wedding ring to his widow (Rachel Ticotin). John does, and eventually falls in love with her, and he questions this romance with his old friend Sherrif Church (Brian Dennehy, who also executive produces this feature).
This is a straight-forward tale set in western overtones that touches on the macro issues of love, responsibility, and humanity.
This film will air on Showtime on March 18th, 2001 at 8 p.m.
Overall, this film contains great moral attitudes towards human life and great lessons in forgivness, reconciliation, and judgement. John lives and breaths in the prison like a prisoner, so he better relates to his prisoners. He treats them fairly, so he is a model of justice and equality. There is no sex, nor nudity, so the romance in the film resembles that of the old 50’s westerns, which is rare in today cinema. The film also has a clash of good and evil, a simple element to all sphagetti westerns, and in the end you have the face off with classic gunfire. This film would have been great for families, moreso for families with ten year olds who love westerns, except the gunfire gets a little graphic, as well as the human to human assults, as well as language that was not really needed. I would rate this as an average film. There is really nothing to special about this made for television movie. The acting is adequate, the direction is conventional, and the plot is nothing to deep. The writing was paceful, with no out of place dialogue, although I was left with the feeling that I have been down this territory before. Just another recycled western.