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  • Kenny Rogers has done it again. I found this to be an enjoyable film that pays homage to just about every western in the history of American television. Be sure to pay close attention to Paul Brinegar as "Cookie" when he does his monologue. You may remember him from "Rawhide" when he played Wishbone. It's a hoot and a holler. I had to go back and play that part again because it was so funny. I'm glad he lived long enough to appear in this film. That monologue had me rolling on the floor with laughter. Sit back and enjoy seeing some of your favorite western TV stars as they appear here in their respective roles. Reba is delightful here as the leading lady.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Brady Hawkes character doesn't tax Kenny Rogers but makes a likable western hero. On the subject of which, this movie introduces some of my heroes from favourite 1950s/60s TV series. At varying times along ride Lucas McCain, Cheyenne Bodie, Bart Maverick, The Westerner, Kwai Chang Caine, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp all being played by the original actors. Not since the 1959 Bob Hope comedy Western, 'Alias Jesse James' has so many famous cowboy faces appeared as 'themselves'.

    As to 'The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw' it is rambling, unsure whether its a comedy, a road movie or a drama and its moments of violence are somehow out of kilter with the lighter side of the bulk of this mini-series. For example when Cade, who almost ends up as a 'pantomime villain' in the San Francisco hotel towards the end of the movie, murders one of his men "for thinking". That said it is beautifully shot and mostly well played.

    Reba McIntire and Rick Rossovich shine brighter than most of the others, and Kenny Rogers is always good to have on screen. Clint Walker seemed to actually be driving the Overland stagecoach which at age 64 wasn't a bad feat; and with Gene Barry – then 72 - as Bat Masterson, still looked pretty good! Unsurprisingly the other former Western characters from days gone by had not stood the test of time quite so well; this shouldn't be a shock I suppose as Chuck Connors for instance died the following year, as did Dub Taylor and Paul Brineger not too long after this film was made. With those and others reprising long-ago roles why was Doug McClure (who also sadly died early four years later) not billed as Trampas, and James Drury as The Virginian?

    All in all this was a pleasant way to spend three hours but 'The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw' will not go down in Western TV miniseries history as a great one or even particularly memorable. Particularly so, as 'Lonesome Dove' had shown two years earlier, how to make a great Western mini-series.
  • Reba's role as "Burgundy Jones " the owner of a brothel and admirer of Mr. Hawke's poker skills, steals the movie with the sexiest leather cowboy duds ever. It is very highly improbable that this leather outfit could have been made in this time era, never mind that a cross-dressing female would be allowed to wear these masculine leather garments during this time . Reba does save the life of Kenny Rogers(Hawke) from the Mexican gallows when wrongly accused of cheating at cards. Reba gives Kenny the chance to represent a girl group with their financial backing to enter a big poker game with the world's best players in San Francisco. Kenny comes through; surprise ! Reba as Burgundy , didn't get to strut her stuff enough in her cowboy leathers as she should have don, she was shot and never wore her sexy leathers again. Linda Evans re-appears in this "Gambler" sequel dressed in another cowboy outfit.This black cloth outfit is unlike her first cowboy outfit she wore in her first "Gambler" episode. Linda as " Kate " the bounty hunter is now a locale sheriff dressed like Gene Autry in his movie fancy duds. Kate has tight rodeo riding pants tucked into her cowboy boots with matching jacket and Stetson hat. Kate looks great with her cowboy gun belt slung around curving hips.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was an OK movie. It was really neat seeing all the classic TV western stars like the McCains, the guys from the Virginian, Cheyenne, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Bart Maverick. Some of them aged better than others. Kenny and Reba did a great job. They really are two of the better country singers to make that crossover into acting. I do have some complaints though. The biggest one was their treatment of Bart Maverick. You can tell by the scripting that the writers must have been mad that they didn't get James Garner as Bret Maverick. They had one line where after losing a hand, Bart says Bret would have drawn that card, and another where he says that he isn't even the best poker player in his own family. With this movie turning out to be Jack Kelly's last appearance before he died, I think he deserved better than once again having to play second fiddle to James Garner who wasn't even in the movie! Then there was the use of cars and a motorcycle. This is western. My last complaint has to do with Ethan knowing how to fight, he gets into the boxing match and can't fight worth a darn, and then later he is suddenly a good fighter again when they mix up with the bad guys on the streets.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There's a reason that the producers didn't cast James Drury and Doug McClure as Virginian and Trampas, respectively. Unlike some of the other characters used, The Virginian and Trampas were originally from a novel, while most of the others came from TV series. All uses of the character "The Virginian" had to be approved by the Owen Wister estate. I would imagine the estate was already irritated by the way the TV series made Virginian and Trampas friends rather than the enemies they were in the original novel. That said, in an early episode of "The Virginian", it was hinted by a passing character that he had been known by "Jim" at one time; so there was at least a little continuity between the show and the Gambler movie. We won't even get into the idea of Mark McCain playing the Lone Ranger in a movie made 30 years before the character was created.
  • The only reason I can watched this movie was because Reba McEntire was in it. The movie itself isn't very exciting. It seems that they may have been pushing "The Gambler" success with this one. I don't think this is a great movie, but it does have a couple of humorous moments.