Picks and Pans Review: Broken Trail

UPDATED 07/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

AMC (June 25, 8 p.m. ET)

AMC's first made-for-TV movie dawdles, but at least you have time to enjoy Lloyd Ahern's handsome cinematography. Canada's Alberta substitutes for the late-19th-century American West, but the scale is appropriately vast, and the light where the horizon meets the sky is one of the few soft, glowing things in a harsh world.

The story, four hours over two nights, follows Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church as they drive horses to Wyoming. Along the trail, they take into unofficial protective custody a small group of kidnapped Chinese women destined for work as prostitutes in a mining town. These joined stories never forge into one strong plot, but there's always Duvall, an actor whose rugged reserve is so at home in Westerns (Lonesome Dove). He can say a line as simple as "Sometimes you just gotta roll with what's thrown atcha, eh?" and it has the plain flint of truth.
[3 stars]

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