When Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott worked together in 1982’s The Shadow Riders, they had both worked in Westerns. Yet both actors were, in a way, still trying to find their places in the movie world. Ironically, this made-for-TV movie would go a long way toward helping both men.
The Shadow Riders was taken from a book by legendary Western author Louis L’Amour. This movie also has a strong element of being a buddy-buddy film. That was one format that worked in other Westerns like Rio Bravo, but this movie shared humor and seriousness.
Selleck plays Mac Traven opposite Elliott’s Dal Traven. Both brothers are on opposite sides of the Civil War. Mac chose the Union; Dal fought for the Confederacy. Yet don’t take this to mean the Traven boys were political at all. They really didn’t want to get into that stuff.
While Mac and Dal have their funny moments, things turn more serious with The Shadow Riders. The boys’ sisters, brother Jesse, and Dal’s girlfriend Kate (played by Elliott’s now-wife Katherine Ross) were kidnapped. The event played out a sense of terror and brutality.
Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott Face Turning Points With Movie
From this point, the brothers are sent on a search for their family members. It is at this moment that The Shadow Riders shifts into its more serious mode, Collider reports.
As we said, this movie acts as a kind of turning point for both actors. Selleck’s career will take off even in just a few months. Of course, Selleck was selected to star in Magnum, P.I. He played that role for a few years.
Most modern Selleck fans know him from playing NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods.
Elliott recently had a chance to participate in another Western series. This time, it was 1882 and he acted opposite, yet again, Ross.
Both actors carried their mustaches quite well entering the movie. Because they worked so well together, Selleck and Elliott made this movie work for themselves and the scriptwriter.
What also is interesting about The Shadow Riders is that it allowed the actors to work against their usual type. Selleck had to himself a bit of a romantic nature. As you may have seen him playing Reagan on Blue Bloods, Selleck has a rather matter-of-fact attitude. In this role, though, he showed his character had a softness to it.
Elliott, for his character, wanted to provide a steadying presence to his girlfriend. He didn’t want to be out carousing around at night. He’d rather be with her. In some of his movies, Elliott has played some characters who were galavanting boyfriends.
The Shadow Riders helped mark a defining moment in their careers. From this point, both men would go on to greater success in the entertainment world.
Selleck is winding down his time on Blue Bloods. The show recently announced that its upcoming season will be the final one in the series. As an aside, both of Selleck’s TV series have been with CBS. He’s also been busy working on scripts for the Jesse Stone movies.
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