Up in Smoke
15 year-old Lucas Miller's (Kelly Morgan) dad was a lawman but he died whilst doing his job, it maybe why when following his mum's death thanks to a stagecoach robbery he decides to go after the men who were responsible for her death. In doing so he leaves his younger brother Martin (Mikey LeBeau) at the home of former marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) which is where they ended up following the stagecoach robbery. Dillon decides to go after Lucas as he knows the teenager will end up dead if he catches up to the killers. Fellow traveller from the stagecoach Davis Healy (Bruce Boxleitner) goes with Matt despite having taken a bullet in the shoulder which in turn causes Matt to question his motives.
I will be honest with you, I have has a bit of a love hate relationship with these "Gunsmoke" movies which came in the 90s and I put part of that down to having not grown up on the old TV series when it was popular. And sadly by 1994 when "Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice" was released these TV movies along with actor James Arness were feeling tired which maybe why this ended up the last of these TV movies and the final appearance of James Arness as Matt Dillon.
The trouble with "Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice" is that it feels a shell of a movie as we have Lucas out for revenge for the death of his mum, you have Matt trying to keep him from doing something stupid, the mystery surrounding Davis Healy and his motives plus we have some drama back home surrounding Matt's daughter wanting her and her husband to look after Lucas and Martin when they get home. But this isn't very exciting and everything seems to be drawn out with soul searching dialogue which makes me think that maybe Arness had got to the point where he could not longer do the action side of these movies.
Despite this "Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice" is still a nicely shot made for TV western and Bruce Boxleitner certainly feels incredibly at home in this sort of easy going western. In truth, and I hate to say this, all the cast do a nice job except for James Arness who really looked like anything other than riding his horse was too much.
What this all boils down to is that "Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice" is disappointing when compared to the previous Gunsmoke TV movies and it comes across as painfully drawn out. In a way after the way this one went it is a good job they didn't make any more of them.