Texas Rangers (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steve Miner|
|Produced by||Frank Price
|Screenplay by||Scott Busby
|Story by||George Durham|
|Starring||James Van Der Beek
Rachael Leigh Cook
|Narrated by||James Coburn|
|Music by||Trevor Rabin|
|Edited by||Gregg Featherman
Peter Devaney Flanagan
|Distributed by||Dimension Films
Texas Rangers is a 2001 American western film directed by Steve Miner. It is about a group of Texas Rangers set in the post-American Civil War era. This film is very loosely based upon the book by George Durham, Taming the Nueces Strip, when he joined Captain McNelly's Texas Ranger group as a youngster.
Ten years after the Civil War has ended, the Governor of Texas asks Leander McNelly (Dylan McDermott) to recommission a company of Rangers to help uphold the law along the Mexican border. Aside from a few seasoned veterans, the recruits are young men, such as George Durham (Ashton Kutcher), who have little or no experience with guns or policing crime. The antagonist of the story is John King Fisher (Alfred Molina) who is stealing cattle from Texas cattle barons like Richard Dukes and Victor Logan and driving them into Mexico, where he sells them to the Mexican army.
After McNelly and his men pursue Fisher for a while, they fall into a trap, where many of the young and ill-trained Rangers are killed. Defeated and low on morale, the men fall back to a ranch house and attempt to set up an ambush for Fisher. After being double crossed by a woman (perhaps unwittingly), the rangers remain one step behind Fisher and his men. Two of the Rangers follow Fisher and his men to the Mexican border, where they wait for the rest of their company. Once the entire Ranger force arrives, they plan their final attack. In a final gun-slinging showdown, the Rangers face off against Fisher and his men that will tip the state of the border country in the direction of either chaos or justice.
- James Coburn as Narrator
- James Van Der Beek as Lincoln Rogers Dunnison
- Rachael Leigh Cook as Caroline Dukes
- Ashton Kutcher as George Durham
- Dylan McDermott as Leander McNelly
- Usher Raymond as Randolph Douglas Scipio
- Tom Skerritt as Richard Dukes
- Alfred Molina as John King Fisher
- Randy Travis as Frank Bones
- Robert Patrick as Sgt. John Armstrong
- Oded Fehr as Anton Marsale
- Jon Abrahams as Berry Smith
- Leonor Varela as Perdita
The film's source was the book Taming of the Neuces Strip: The Story of McNelly's Rangers by George Durham.
In 1989 Frank Price at Columbia optioned a story idea called Ranger from Scott Busby and Martin Copalnd based on the book A Texas Ranger by N. A. Jennings. Busby and Copland were hired to do the adaptation. A year later John Milius was on the project.  He did several drafts and was going to direct for Columbia, then Savoy Pictures.
The film is loosely based on the activities of Leander H. McNelly and the Special Force of the Texas Rangers, but it takes considerable liberties with the historical record (McNelly is shown dying of tuberculosis shortly after the climax of the action, when in real life he had retired from the Rangers the year before; John King Fisher was not actually killed by the Rangers, but came to an agreement with them).
While filmed in 1999, it was not released until 2001
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John Milius claimed that Miramax "mutilated" his script. "They don't have any sense of responsibility. They'd make a film about anything if they thought it would make some money for them. I think they should give Harvey Weinstein [president of Miramax] to the Taliban. I'd like to see him on the other side. I'd like to hunt him down in a cave."
- "Texas Rangers (2001) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Milius and Rangers". Los Angeles Times. 19 January 1992.
- Wells, Jeffrey (1 Nov 1992). "'Die Hard 3' Blown Out of the Water by 'Siege'". Los Angeles Times. p. F16.
- Texas Rangers (2001) at Rotten Tomatoes
- D'arcy, David (8 November 2001). "Go ahead, pinko liberals, make my day". The Guardian.
Taming the Nueces Strip by George Durham