The Virginian

Bill Pullman, Diane Lane and Dennis Weaver

This 2000 adaptation of The Virginian is said to be closest to the iconic novel. Stars Bill Pullman, Diane Lane and Dennis Weaver! The Virginian is betrayed by a good friend, now he must decide between seeing justice served and his future bride.

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The Virginian

“I keep movin’ on to places that ain’t no different and ain’t no better” – The Virginian

Stars Bill Pullman and Diane Lane, with an appearance by James Drury, as a grizzled cowboy riding by to give The Virginian a message! Plus, Gunsmoke fans, Dennis Weaver plays ruthless rancher, Sam Balaam!

When The Virginian and best friend, Steve arrive in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, they secure jobs as hands on a cattle ranch owned by Judge Henry. But instead of working for a time then heading out for towns unknown, they stick around. Having wandered for quite some time, the Virginian feels he might want to settle down, and aside from his work at the ranch, another reason for his change of heart is that a certain woman has caught his eye.

Molly Stark is an attractive school teacher from Vermont who headed to Wyoming to bring a good education (and a dose of civilization) to the children of the Wild West. She, too, is drawn to the charismatic Virginian.

While love begins to blossom between the unlikely couple, The Virginian has a growing problem at the ranch. Judge Henry and other neighbor ranchers have been attacked by a band of outlaws rustling their cattle. Most suspect rogue rancher Sam Balaam as the ring leader, but they have no proof. Now the rustling has become rampant, and Judge Henry promotes The Virginian to Foreman of the ranch to take care of the matter. But not everyone is happy with his new position of power. Trampas refuses to work for The Virginian, and he quits. In an even more unexpected turn of events, Steve, also, leaves rather than take orders from his best friend.

One day, while rounding up horses, The Virginian encounters the rustlers, and engages them in a gunfight. He is way outnumbered, and sustains a serious, life-threatening injury. Molly finds him and nurses him back to health during which time, they fall in love and soon make plans to marry.

When he’s recovered enough to climb back in the saddle, he makes it his mission to catch the rustlers, and soon enough, he, and the group of men he leads get the chance. In a confrontation, they manage to capture two of the rustlers, and The Virginian is shocked to see his good friend Steve is one of them. Betrayed, The Virginian has no choice but to see that justice is served, and in the code of the Wild West, where there are no courts or jury trials, that means the rustlers will hang.

Though, she is horrified that The Virginian would allow what she considers a barbaric form of justice to occur, they agree their love is more important, and the wedding is still on. However, on the day of their nuptials, a rough, grizzled rider passes through with a message for The Virginian that Trampas is holed up in Medicine Bow after killing a couple of federal officers assigned to hunting down the rustlers. Molly begs him not to go, that she will leave him if he does.

Now, The Virginian must decide between a final showdown and seeing that justice is served, or a settled life with the woman he loves.

Ride ‘em, Cowboy!

When Dennis Weaver mounted his horse on the set of The Virginian, he wasn’t aware that the horse was a stunt horse! This horse was trained to rear when the rider pulled back on the reins. Normally, that would be a cue for the horse to slow down or stop. Well, Weaver pulled on the reins and up the horse went on his hind legs! Though Weaver was shocked, he managed to keep his seat and create an unintentionally dramatic scene!