U.S. Marshal Luke Canfield, a good man, searching for his long lost ex-wife and son, takes on an extra job as City Marshal for the small town of Sand Prairie. Little does he know, a vicious gang leader is trying to overtake that quiet town.
This is the third Western released by North American Motion Pictures in a short period of time. Up until now they were all entertaining low-budget films and The Showdown is another Independent film done on no budget. The story here is one of the classic kind, a good vs. evil plot about a man searching for his wife and son only to take a job being a lawman in what looks like a quiet little town but trouble lurks in the form of a group of horse thieves that want more than just horses and they look to get rid of the Marshal first. One thing about this Western is I felt it had much better acting in this one, Bob Handegan makes a perfect Marshal. He has the rugged looks to play the part and he is by far the best actor in the movie but all the cast did a fine job here. You have to know a little of the back story here to really appreciate this film more. The film was shot in Illinois and Jim Conover who directed the film is a former Pekin police officer and private detective, has written several true crime books and also writes screenplays. Around 2005 after trying to get some of his screenplays produced by Hollywood he decided to go ahead and make his own film so he brought in some talent from the West Coast but they couldn't even ride horses right so he decided to scrap the film and start over this time using some local talent. It began with local actors, Bob Handegan, from Pekin, plays good guy Luke Canfield; Ann Hagemann, from Metamora, plays damsel in distress Dixie Johnson; and former president of Pekin's Artistic Community Theater William Homel plays antagonist Asa Brown. Once the locals heard about this film being made they came out too wanting to just help get this film done knowing Jim could not pay anyone for the movie, the only thing he promised was their names in the credits,food and help with their costumes. After getting the film shot it drew the attention of Barnholtz Entertainment Inc. who are located in California. After some editing the film got cut from the two and a half hours run time to the hour and a half and received the name change from "Sand Prairie" to The Showdown and is now released on DVD. The story of how the film got made is even better than the film itself, this is truly a labor of love by all involved and it translates to the screen. When actor,Bob Handegan who has had bit parts in movies with Billy Bob Thornton and Heath Ledger was asked why he would do a film with no pay promised he said "What boy, ever, has not wanted to be a cowboy?". This is the kind of dedication that got this film made. Now do not get the idea that this is some crappy movie made with no money because this is in fact a very good film with all the classic Western themes and action from the start to the end with a nice twist as well. Conover did promise that if the film got made and picked up he would pay those involved and I hope The Showdown does well enough so he can indeed do so. This is what Independent film-making is all about and it is one film I not only support but suggest to any fan of Westerns to own. But not because it was made with hard work and no budget but because it is a Western that succeeds on all levels. Congratulations to all involved for putting together a action-packed Western that proves that you do not need a big Hollywood budget to make a good movie. I hope all those involved in the film get more work from this as it would be well deserved. Released by North American Motion Pictures. **** Out Of *****