Law of the Land (1976)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Jim Davis in Law of the Land (1976)

Western Vice

Sheriff Pat Lambrose (Jim Davis) finds himself and his young deputies on the trail of a serial killer when the prostitutes in the town become victims. Initially attention falls on drifter Quirt (Don Johnson) but there are others who also end up falling under suspicion with Lambrose organizing his men to his leg work from the comfort of his sheriff's office.

It has the look, it has the music, it has the array of stars; "Law of the Land" could quite easily have been an episode from one of those old western series such as "Gunsmoke". And that is how it initially comes across as we have Quirt doing some hustling in town, a murder and Sheriff Lambrose and his men initially suspecting him of being the prostitute killer. Except "Law of the Land" lasts 100 minutes and so it tries to create this who dunnit as we have one suspect after another and as such this simple storyline, perfect for an episode of a western becomes drawn out to the point of tedium.

Tedium is sadly how the performance of Jim Davis ends up as whilst initially he has the look and the humour of an old lawman when it becomes clear he seems to order people around from his office it becomes boring. And sadly many of the other actors also fare quite poorly as there is no attempt to really create character often relying more on the actor in the role to appeal to the audience. The exception is Charles Martin Smith who does a nice comedic turn, in fairness a cliche character but an entertaining one.

What this all boils down to is that sadly "Law of the Land" ends up a disappointment as whilst it starts well it quickly drifts off and feels drawn out with the who dunnit failing to have you gripped.


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