Picks and Pans Review: Riders of the Purple Sage
Ed Harris and his wife, actress Amy Madigan, executive-produced and costar in this thrilling adaptation of Zane Grey's 1912 classic parable of love and revenge. Grey virtually invented the western novel, and Riders has the works: a mysterious drifter, a beautiful rancher, corrupt officials, rustlers, stampedes and, of course, a tremendous shoot-out at the end. What made Grey unusual for his time was his mythic vision of sexual equality and freedom. His heroines can ride even better than the men and have passions just as strong.
Harris is memorable as the quietly powerful gunman Lassiter; Madigan is perfect as the fiercely independent Jane Withersteen. Gill Dennis's script expertly tightens up Grey's story, while Charles Haid's direction produces maximum excitement. As in all great westerns, Riders' dramatic ending raises more questions than it answers.