Riders of the Purple Sage (TV Movie 1996) - IMDb
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Riders of the Purple Sage (1996)

Jim Lassiter roams from town to town in search for the man who drove his sister to suicide. While riding toward a mountain pass, he sees an heiress, Jane Withersteen, being harassed by ... See full summary »


Charles Haid


Zane Grey (book), Gill Dennis (teleplay)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Ed Harris ... Jim Lassiter
Amy Madigan ... Jane Withersteen
Henry Thomas ... Bern Venters
Robin Tunney ... Elizabeth Erne
Norbert Weisser ... Deacon Tull
G.D. Spradlin ... Pastor Dyer
Lynn Wanlass ... Hester Brandt
Bob L. Harris Bob L. Harris ... Collier Brandt
Jerry Wills Jerry Wills ... Oldring
Rusty Musselman Rusty Musselman ... Matthew Blake


Jim Lassiter roams from town to town in search for the man who drove his sister to suicide. While riding toward a mountain pass, he sees an heiress, Jane Withersteen, being harassed by thugs and steps in to help. A religious sect wants Jane to marry their leader, Deacon Tull, so they can gain ownership of her land. When he steps in to help, Lassister slowly begins to believe that a member of this sect is the man he is looking for. Written by Ronos

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Friends betrayed her ... Neighbors deserted her ... Now her only ally is a stranger who lives above the law.


Drama | Romance | Western


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The Mormons are never identified as the religion in the film, as they were in Zane Grey's novel. But the story takes place in Utah, and the religious group is described as being persecuted and driven out of every place they had lived. Also, there is a book in a drawer with the Salt Lake temple on the cover. See more »


Lassiter: You'd best be calling on that god that reveals himself to you on earth, 'cause you won't be seeing him where you're going.
See more »


Version of Riders of the Purple Sage (1941) See more »

User Reviews

Good and Evil depends on ones point of view.
24 May 2004 | by kmiller12See all my reviews

Good and Evil depends on ones point of view. Who's side of the fence are you on and how do you fight that which you perceive as evil. Just as the person before me in his review stated, if you haven't read the book, you might want to, so that you will understand the obvious points that had to be left out of the movie. It really is important to make some understanding of the thought's that Zane Grey, one of the premiere western writers of the past. He was ahead of his time giving psychological reasoning for his character's as well as one of the best describers of surrounding beauty that the characters are enveloped in.

The evil men in this portrait of the depravity of men (even those of "religious' belief's) is portrayed vividly by the men of the Mormon church as they saw their duty. Greed set aside, this was about a belief as well. Right and wrong played out in a violent nature by violent men. Portrayed brilliantly by an outstanding cast.

Then comes Lassiter, who is violent in his own way and yet gentle and kind. He steps up to the plate and helps Jane Withersteen (played by Amy Madigan in one of her most impressive acting to date), while Lassiter (played in a hard as rock characterization by Ed Harris) still after those who caused his family member to commit suicide. I believe these characters played by this particular cast very brilliantly portrayed just as those envisioned by Zane Grey in his book "Riders of the Purple Sage".

The screen play is very well done by Gill Dennis from the book written by Zane Grey. Direction by Charles Haid proves he understands the west as well as how to get the best out of his actors and staff. If it was not a movie made for television, it would rank up there with the best like Eastwoods "The Unforgiven" and Costner's "Open Range" with each of those carrying "star power" and Rider's unsung actors.

Tough interpretation of a hard subject, still beyond it's time.

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Release Date:

21 January 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Riders of the Purple Sage See more »

Filming Locations:

Littlefield, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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