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The Young Riders: The Complete First Season (1989)

Cast: Anthony Zerbe, Anthony Zerbe, Ty Miller, more...
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Genre: Television
Running Time: 1135 min.
Languages: English
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Season One of The Young Riders begins in 1860, as a rambunctious teenaged hothead known only as The Kid (Ty Miller) signs on as a rider for the Central Overland Express mail service in Sweetwater, Wyoming. This particular branch of the service is overseen by stationmaster Teaspoon Hunter (Anthony Zerbe, a grizzled-old-codger type who is doing his best to live down his past as a gunslinger. Before long, several other youthful buckaroos have joined up as riders, including natural-born scout Billy Cody (Stephen Baldwin), straight-shooter Jimmy Hickok (Josh Brolin), taciturn mute Ike McSwain (Travis Fine), half-Kiowa Indian Buck Cross (Gregg Rainwater), and short-tempered Lou McCloud (Yvonne Suhor)--who, unbeknownst to anyone (at least at first), is a girl in male disguise. Emma Shannon (Melissa Leo) is the station's cook and resident "earth mother", while local lawkeeper Marshall Cain (Brett Cullen) is Emma's would-be beau. This season, Don Collier makes the first of many recurring appearances as versatile general store keeper William Tompkins, who hopes to one day be reunited with the wife and daughter who'd been stolen by the Sioux years earlier; the taciturn Ike demonstrates time and again that it would take a bolt from Heaven to persuade him to abandon his curious set of values; and the Riders come to the defense of runaway slaves, abandoned and abused children and wrongly persecuted Native Americans, and overall demonstrate a stronger sympathy for the abolitionist North than the slaveholding South in the months leading to the Civil War. As for historical accuracy. . .well, you can't have everything. The season ends with a two-hour finale, involving the Young Riders' dangerous encounter with a vigilante character clearly based on the infamous "Kansas Raider" Quantrill. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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