Johnson County War Reviews

  • 2d ago

    It may be a bit plodding and slow, but this is a quality production with good acting and beautiful scenery. If you want to watch a film on the subject, I'll take this over Heaven's Gate any day of the week.

    It may be a bit plodding and slow, but this is a quality production with good acting and beautiful scenery. If you want to watch a film on the subject, I'll take this over Heaven's Gate any day of the week.

  • May 28, 2018

    I really wanted to like this film, with it's strong cast, and a script co-written by Larry McMurtry, tackling the fascinating true story of the Johnson County War, where big ranchers and upstart smaller farmers engaged in one of the old west's most infamous range wars. There has been numerous film versions of this range war, "Heaven's Gate" being the most notable, but none have been great adaptation of the story. This film version boasts a strong cast that includes Tom Berenger, Burt Reynolds, Rachel Ward, and Michelle Forbes (there's also Luke Perry), but I was mostly excited by the involvement of Pulitzer Prize winning author Larry McMurtry, who has previously written his own romanticized adaptations of other old west figures Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hicock. I was hoping this TV movie was going to have McMurtry's same melancholy romanticized vision of the old west, but it sadly did not live up to his best adaptations (i.e. "Lonesome Dove" or even "Buffalo Girls"). The true story of the Johnson County War is not as clear cut as most films versions make it out to be. Usually the big ranchers are portrayed as the black hat villains trying to chase out the smaller rangers and farmers, playing into a familiar class warfare story of the powerful picking on the "little guy." The truth of the situation was that the these little guys were actually stealing a significant amount of cattle from these larger rangers. In real life, both sides had legitimate grievances with the other and both sides had their own villains, which would have been an interesting story to tell, but this film does not tackle that. It instead follows the standard class warfare story, which if done well could have been an entertaining old west tale, but it ends up feeling like a pretty standard Ted Turner made-for-cable western. Douglas Milsome, who's worked with the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Michael Mann (and also the horror movie version of Rumpelstiltskin), provides the film with some striking photography, but overall I found myself disappointed with what ends up being merely a routine oater.

    I really wanted to like this film, with it's strong cast, and a script co-written by Larry McMurtry, tackling the fascinating true story of the Johnson County War, where big ranchers and upstart smaller farmers engaged in one of the old west's most infamous range wars. There has been numerous film versions of this range war, "Heaven's Gate" being the most notable, but none have been great adaptation of the story. This film version boasts a strong cast that includes Tom Berenger, Burt Reynolds, Rachel Ward, and Michelle Forbes (there's also Luke Perry), but I was mostly excited by the involvement of Pulitzer Prize winning author Larry McMurtry, who has previously written his own romanticized adaptations of other old west figures Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hicock. I was hoping this TV movie was going to have McMurtry's same melancholy romanticized vision of the old west, but it sadly did not live up to his best adaptations (i.e. "Lonesome Dove" or even "Buffalo Girls"). The true story of the Johnson County War is not as clear cut as most films versions make it out to be. Usually the big ranchers are portrayed as the black hat villains trying to chase out the smaller rangers and farmers, playing into a familiar class warfare story of the powerful picking on the "little guy." The truth of the situation was that the these little guys were actually stealing a significant amount of cattle from these larger rangers. In real life, both sides had legitimate grievances with the other and both sides had their own villains, which would have been an interesting story to tell, but this film does not tackle that. It instead follows the standard class warfare story, which if done well could have been an entertaining old west tale, but it ends up feeling like a pretty standard Ted Turner made-for-cable western. Douglas Milsome, who's worked with the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Michael Mann (and also the horror movie version of Rumpelstiltskin), provides the film with some striking photography, but overall I found myself disappointed with what ends up being merely a routine oater.

  • Jan 20, 2013

    long but a great movie if u love tom berenger

    long but a great movie if u love tom berenger

  • Apr 02, 2011

    While the movie seems to capture the essence of the Johnson County War, it doesn't use any historical names or actions, thus giving it limited value as an educational movie. It's somewhat entertaining, but long, and a bit too focused on the romance between the elder Hammett brother and his brother's wife.

    While the movie seems to capture the essence of the Johnson County War, it doesn't use any historical names or actions, thus giving it limited value as an educational movie. It's somewhat entertaining, but long, and a bit too focused on the romance between the elder Hammett brother and his brother's wife.

  • Jan 21, 2009

    Very good movie, shows how uprising wyoming could get bad back when rich land owners tried to take away land from pure farmers

    Very good movie, shows how uprising wyoming could get bad back when rich land owners tried to take away land from pure farmers

  • Oct 12, 2007

    it could have had more bang but it has some solid performances all over and feels very real.

    it could have had more bang but it has some solid performances all over and feels very real.

  • Sep 13, 2007

    Good classic western

    Good classic western

  • Oct 16, 2006

    Could've been way better than it was.

    Could've been way better than it was.

  • Jun 17, 2006

    JOHNSON COUNTY WAR (2002)

    JOHNSON COUNTY WAR (2002)