Once Upon a Texas Train

Watch Once Upon a Texas Train

"Some men took money ... Some men took lives ... These men took both."
  • PG
  • 1988
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 5.7  (746)

In the late 1800s, legendary outlaw John Henry Lee (Willie Nelson) is released from prison after serving 20 years. He's given a pardon by the Governor, who wants to use John's expertise to help capture a group of more dangerous thieves who've been causing havoc in Texas. John agrees to help, but only on the condition that he gets to assemble his own aging outlaw gang to carry out the task.

Once Upon a Texas Train is a classic western story that has a lot of familiar tropes for fans of the genre. Yet despite some of the familiar territory, there's something charming and unique about the movie that makes it stand out from some of its peers.

One of the biggest factors that makes this movie appealing is the star power of Willie Nelson, who is perfectly cast as the lead outlaw. Nelson has a gravitas and a likability that makes it easy to root for John Henry Lee, despite his past crimes. Nelson's performance captures both the weariness of a man who's spent decades behind bars, as well as the cunning and skill needed to help put an end to the villainous band of thieves.

Richard Widmark plays Captain Oren Hayes, the aging lawman tasked with leading a posse to take down the gang. Widmark is equally impressive, bringing a sense of experience and gravitas to his role. There's a sense that Hayes isn't as eager for the hunt as he once was, but that he's driven by a sense of responsibility to keep the people of Texas safe. The dynamic between Hayes and Lee is well-played, as they both have a begrudging respect for one another, despite being on opposite sides of the law.

Rounding out the cast is Shaun Cassidy, playing a young and eager deputy named Cotton. Cassidy brings a nice energy to the film and serves as a reminder of the difference in experience between the older outlaws and the younger lawmen who are trying to learn from them.

The plot itself is fairly straightforward, as John Henry Lee and his gang try to get the better of the thieves who've been causing trouble. There are some nice twists and turns along the way, however, and the film does a good job of creating a sense of tension as the two sides engage in a game of cat and mouse. There's also some nice humor throughout the movie, particularly between the older outlaws who have a sense of camaraderie and a shared history.

The film is well-shot, with some nice wide shots of the Texas landscape that add to the sense of place. The action scenes are also well-staged, with director Burt Kennedy balancing the shootouts with quieter moments of character development.

One potential downside to the movie is that it may feel a bit slow-paced to some viewers. While there are certainly moments of action and excitement, the film is in no rush to get to them. This can make the plot feel a bit padded at times, with some scenes dragging on a bit longer than necessary.

Overall, Once Upon a Texas Train is a charming and enjoyable film that fans of westerns should find to be a satisfying experience. The movie benefits greatly from the performances of Nelson and Widmark, as well as a strong supporting cast. While it may feel a bit slow to some, the film's sense of humor and its well-staged action scenes help to keep it engaging throughout. If you're looking for a classic western with plenty of star power, Once Upon a Texas Train should fit the bill nicely.

Once Upon a Texas Train is a 1988 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7.

Once Upon a Texas Train
Where to Watch Once Upon a Texas Train
Once Upon a Texas Train is available to watch free on Crackle, Plex and The Roku Channel Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Philo, Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Once Upon a Texas Train for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (746)