Outlaw Trail

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Outlaw Trail Movie Poster Image
Unique take on Western legend has gun violence, bullying.
  • NR
  • 2007
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

This movie shows through example the importance of believing in oneself and standing up to criticism.

Positive role models & representations

Roy Parker believes in himself, and in the good in his family, and stops at nothing to learn the truth about the legends surrounding his relative, Butch Cassidy, despite being bullied by his peers and treated like a pariah by the leaders of the small Utah town where he lives.

Violence

Frequent gun and rifleplay. A teenage boy is shot and has his arm grazed by a bullet. A man is pistol-whipped. Some bullying. Early in the film, a girl pretends to be injured by getting thrown off a horse. There are also some over-the-top car chase scenes, as the main character steals a truck after escaping from the town jail.

Sex

Chaste flirtation.

Language

A character makes an off-color reference to "nuts."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

During a standoff, a character is holed up in a house with bottles of alcohol on a desk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Outlaw Trail is a 2006 movie that re-imagines the legend of Butch Cassidy and includes frequent gun and rifle violence. A teen boy gets shot in the arm at almost point-blank range. There is also some bullying, as the mayor's son calls everyone "losers" as he enters a diner, then shoves a table where a boy is enjoying a milkshake. There is also an off-color reference to "nuts" towards the end of the film. Equal parts western-style adventure and coming of age, in spite of the gun violence, this is largely a wholesome movie about believing in yourself and your family.

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What's the story?

According to the legend, in 1908, Butch Cassidy was killed in Bolivia. But there are some -- including Cassidy's great-nephew Roy (Ryan Kelley) -- who suspect Butch made it back to America and brought back bags of gold that he kept hidden. Roy, a teenager living in Circleville, Utah in 1951, believes that a belt buckle he discovered in an abandoned home belonging to his family is actually a treasure map leading to the gold. More important than discovering the gold, Roy sees this as a chance to clear his family's name of being associated with an outlaw, and to also show that Butch was kinder and more repentant than history wants everyone to believe. But Roy's plans are thwarted by an evil museum curator and his gun-toting minions who want the gold for themselves. Roy sets out to stop them, going on an adventure with his best friend, and, by happenstance, his arch-rival, and the cutest girl in town (Arielle Kebbel) to find Cassidy's treasure, clear Roy's family's name, and to find out the truth as to whether or not Butch Cassidy is still alive and living in America under an assumed name.

Is it any good?

For families who enjoy Westerns, Outlaw Trail is an unorthodox take on a legend that is worth checking out. It's equal parts Western-style shoot-em-up and 1950s coming-of-age movie a la Stand by Me. The premise of the film is unusual and a bit questionable -- Butch Cassidy didn't die in Bolivia and made it back to the United States and left a cache of gold and a treasure map on a belt buckle -- but against all odds and a limited film budget, the cast and crew somehow make this work.

The acting is above average across the board, and the action -- as absurd as it can be sometimes -- doesn't leave room for any dull moments. Parents and families wary of gun violence may want to avoid this one -- and scenes where a teen boy is shot at point-blank range but somehow only manages to get grazed in the arm (an injury that's treated by using a boy scout scarf as a tourniquet) might test the credulity of some.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of guns in the movie. Were the consequences for gun use realistic?

  • How does this movie show and address bullying?

  • How does this similar to and different than other Western-themed movies? Which Westerns are your favorites?

Movie details

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