Hickok may not be the best Western to have been made but the film manages to do the job with the first big screen depiction of the lawman since 1999’s Purgatory.
Directed by Timothy Woodward Jr. from a screenplay written by Michael Lanahan, the western stars Luke Hemsworth, Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson, and Bruce Dern. Cameron Richardson, Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereasu, Robert Catrini, and Hunter Fischer also star.
While the Western isn’t a dying genre, the fare hasn’t seen the best of offerings over the past few years with Western films either failing at the box office or simply not living up to expectations. Hickok avoids much of this by avoiding a wide release in theaters.
“Wild Bill” Hickok (Hemsworth), the infamous gunslinger and outlaw, is in search of escaping from his previous life and does so by deciding to make his home in Abilene, Kansas. The mayor, George Knox (Kristofferson), decides to offer Hickok a job as town marshal upon being impressed by his gun skills. Hickok soon finds himself being faced by some of the town’s outlaws, including saloon owner Phil Poe (Adkins) (the film uses the name Phil Poe but in real life, it was Phil Coe). Poe’s relationship with Hickok’s ex, Mattie (Richardson), surely does not do him any favors with Hickok. Poe decides to issue a bounty for Wild Bill, who turns to a former outlaw gone good, John Wesley Hardin (Lyman-Mersereasu), to take on the outlaws.
Hickok marks the first leading feature film role for the other Hemsworth brother after a number of television appearances and minor roles in previous films. Interestingly enough, the actor stars on Westworld, which shares the Melody Ranch set featured in the western.
This wasn’t Dern’s first film in which Hickok played the leading role as the actor was previously featured in the 1995 film, Wild Bill, starring Jeff Bridges as the lawman.
“Classic westerns hold a special place in my heart, so having the opportunity to bring such a compelling and iconic story to the screen was a real pleasure,” said director Timothy Woodward Jr.. “It was such an incredible honor to work with two of the western genres living legends, Kris Kristofferson and Bruce Dern, and to watch Luke Hemsworth so successfully take on the challenge of portraying one of the west’s most recognizable heroes. The entire cast really brought the old west to life.”
Distributed by Cinedigm, Hickok opened in select theaters, VOD platforms, and Digital HD on July 7, 2017. Theatrical markets include Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Detroit, Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, OR, Kansas City and Austin. In Chicago, it is currently playing at the AMC Loews Woodridge 18.