Tall Tale

(1995)
Tall Tale

Starring Patrick Swayze, Oliver Platt, Nick Stahl. (PG)

 

If your tot is interested in Westerns, but you think most are a little old for him/her, this could be a good kiddie alternative. Set in 1905, it’s the story of twelve-year-old Daniel (Stahl), whose father has been fighting developers (led by the evil JP Stiles, played by Scott Glenn) who want to take over the family farm. When his dad is badly injured by Stiles’s heavies, Daniel is left to fight alone, but when he flees the farm with the deeds Stiles wants so badly, he meets the hero of the stories his dad used to tell him, straight-shooting Pecos Bill (Swayze). Pecos Bill agrees to help Daniel get home and face the bad guys, and suggests they enlist the help of two of his pals, strongman John Henry (Roger Aaron Brown) and Paul Bunyan (Platt).

It doesn’t matter that young kids may not have heard of the legendary Western characters that Daniel meets (including Calamity Jane, who also pops up) – each of the actors delivers a full-bodied performance (Platt, especially, as a tree-hugging Bunyan, is a hoot) that requires no previous knowledge of them or their stories. There’s plenty of action and adventure, too, that should entertain Western fans of all ages. Yee ha! 

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