The story begins when a cattle baron starts using trail hands to terrorize homesteaders in a small mining town a preacher comes to the rescue. With a Bible, not a gun this man is able to sway the homesteaders into standing their ground for their rights to free land. The homesteaders are rallied by preacher Carson to hold their position and not be frightened away by the constant barrage of raids on their families. Mike McCray, the cattle baron, doesn’t stand for the resistance, claps back and causes much damage to the preacher’s family and homesteaders. Frustrated with the outcome, one of the preacher’s own family members turns against him and sides with the McCray clan.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C., comments, “A blast to the past! The Lonesome Trail captures the dramatic and heartwarming history of how faith is used to keep hope during dark times. “See her full review below.

The Lonesome Trail 

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

A blast to the past! The Lonesome Trail captures the dramatic and heartwarming history of how faith is used to keep hope during dark times.  

The Lonesome Trail, set in the American cowboy era, follows a preacher named Brent Carson (Peter Wray) who just recently moves to a small mining town. With the help of the local teacher Elizabeth Turner (Kelly Schwartz), he makes it his mission to ensure that the new visitors are welcomed and accepted despite their race and ethnicity. However, he faces some challenges when the town founder Mike McCray (Donald Imm) starts plotting to remove him and other new residents out of town. 

The Lonesome Trail captures the true environment of an old western film quite well. I am a big fan of Western films starring Black actors such as Buck and the Preacher with the award-winning Sidney Poitier. However, some modern elements do not mesh well in this film such as the appearance of some of the characters where the haircuts of the male characters are too modern. The sets and props are authentic to the time. The cinematography gives us an old Western vibe however; in some instances you cannot fully see the characters because the lighting overexposes the actors. Another thing that makes a Western film special is the set. This was clearly shot against a greenscreen and I missed having it take place on an actual Western set. I am curious if director Arlette Thomas-Fletcher did this intentionally in order to provide the audience with what a film may have looked like in the 1950s.  The music is appropriate to the theme. The twangy, western tune that is often heard during tense moments makes the film feel familiar and nostalgic. My favorite character is Preacher Carson because, in every scene, he seems like a genuine person that you would want to get to know in real life. My favorite scene is when Preacher Carson stands up to Mike McCray. I love how he uses faith to combat the hardships he faces. What an important lesson, especially in times of difficulty. 

The message of The Lonesome Trail is to be true to who you are and be kind to others. In times of inequality and unfairness, we must respect each other and have faith. You should be aware that this film contains scenes that mention racial inequality. 

I give The Lonesome Trail 4 out 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The Lonesome Trail comes out on digital July 12, 2022.

Keywords:  western, Arlette Thomas-Fletcher,  African American writer, horses, Peter Wray, Donald Imm, Colin McHugh, Kelly Russell Schwartz, Lamont Easter (Homeland), We Own This City’s Antoinette Greene, Johnny Alonso, Vivian Yoon Lee