A Sheepish Western
After her husband is murdered by local rancher Fergus Hunter (John Noble) devoutly religious homesteader Rebecca Yoder (Naomi Watts - The Christmas Wish) does her best to keep the sheep farm running whilst raising her son Benjo (Thomas Curtis). But then a stranger enters her life, a seriously injured gunfighter by the name of Johnny Gault (Tim Daly) who after Doc Lucas Henry (David Carradine - The New Swiss Family Robinson) tends to his wounds she nurses back to health. But spending so much time with Johnny leads Rebecca to have conflicted feelings not only because of her love of her late husband and her devoutly religious beliefs but also because Johnny is a killer. But Johnny's time spent with Rebecca and her son makes him realise there is more to life than motiveless killing.
I suppose if I had barely watched a western before I might be impressed by "The Outsider", heck it is certainly a pretty movie with plenty of pretty scenic shots. But anyone who frequents The Movie Scene will know I watch a lot of westerns and whilst pretty is nice it does not a good movie make. And that is the trouble with "The Outsider" it is too easy to get caught up in the look which is impressive for a made for TV movie but not realise the underlying plot is nothing special.
Now for those who are hear having already watched "The Outsider" may be screaming at me saying I have missed the point but I haven't. You see whilst "The Outsider" features a classic western plot with an evil rancher tormenting homesteaders leading to a woman being widowed the main emphasis of the movie is on the romance. That means the focus is very much on Rebecca and her conflicted feelings over Johnny a scenario which had already been covered with much greater success in "Witness" which despite this being set in a different era is quite comparable to. Now for those looking for romance this might well entertain but for those who watch hoping for some western action are quickly going to become tired of the forced romantic melodrama.
Despite this the one thing which "The Outsider" certainly has going for it is the acting with both Naomi Watts and Tim Daly doing a good job of playing characters rather than just parts whether or not those characters ring true for you is a completely other matter. What is disappointed is that "The Outsider" also stars brothers Keith and David Carradine but unfortunately are there only in forgettable supporting parts.
What this all boils down to is as a western fan "The Outsider" failed to do it for me as it failed to live up to what I expect from a western. But for those who long for a romantic western it will probably entertain.