The Trail to Hope Rose is the kind of old-fashioned film that used to be standard fare for the Saturday matinée crowd. That this kind of film is now relegated to made-for-TV status does not speak well of Hollywood.
It's nice to see Lou Diamond Phillips play an upright character. He's an actor capable of great subtlety and has played some very nasty villains well, but I like seeing him as Keenan Deerfield. Keenan is a half Indian ex-convict, recently released from prison who takes a mining job in a company town run by the Driggers family. Patriarch of the clan and the town is Warren Stevens who came out of retirement for this part.
Being half Indian isn't going to help him get along at the job, but Lou's helped by a sympathetic town marshal played by Lee Majors and a small rancher played by Ernest Borgnine.
And in the tradition of Saturday matinée fare, the bad guys are routed, the miners come out of virtual slavery and Lou winds up with a wife, daughter and a ranch at the end. Watch for the It's A Wonderful Life ending and I'll say no more.
For the life of me I can't see why the Hallmark channel gave a warning at the beginning of the film that some of the scenes might be too violent for children. Kids today probably see more violence every day on their play station videos. This is definitely one to take the kiddies to.
Good job by Lou and the rest of the cast.
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