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Abc Saturday Night at the Movies the Legend of the Ruby Silver

Mother won't let son go underground in a mine since that's how dad died.

Mother won’t let son go underground in a mine since that’s how dad died.

Bill McLean (Weitz), an alcoholic miner with what appears to be early signs of emphysema, is hired to do the actual work. Gradually it’s revealed that he and the fabled Ruby Silver have a past.

Rustic and remote camp is quickly whipped into shape. Key relationship is between McLean and the boy, who’s taught the ropes and who develops a desire to pursue the work his father loved. Mother relents on her edict but the love affair between her and Town doesn’t blossom, chiefly because he’s shown to be a shady character.

The expected accident never comes and hard work pays off, but Town doesn’t abide by their agreement. Happy ending seems forced.

Turning the assumed hero into a con man is a small gamble. While the character of Town doesn’t read well, Schneider’s perf can’t be faulted. Jackson whines his way through the boy’s role, and Jenkins is hard-pressed to carry out some unmotivated scenes. Weitz delivers nuggets of wisdom convincingly.

Photography by Peter Florian Woeste is good and director Charles Wilkinson has his moments. Both seem ready for more action sequences. Rugged Canadian mountains form a scenic backdrop.

Abc Saturday Night at the Movies the Legend of the Ruby Silver

(Sat. (13), 9 -11 p.m., ABC)

Production: Filmed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada by Silver Prods. Ltd. and Green/Epstein Prods. Executive producers, Jim Green, Allen Epstein; producer, Arvi Liimatainen; co-producer, Pete White; director, Charles Wilkinson; writer, White; camera, Peter Florian Woeste; editor, Lenka Svab; production designer, Rick Roberts; art director, Ken Rempel; sound, David Husby; music, Richard Bellis. #Cast: John Schneider, Rebecca Jenkins, Jonathan Jackson, Bruce Weitz, David Everhart, Larry Day, Stephen Hair, Chris Nannarone, Stephen Eric McIntyre. This sometimes spirited telepic about a foursome mining their dreams is carried by Bruce Weitz ("Hill Street Blues") playing a wizened old-timer. The distance traveled, however, is negligible. Scripter Pete White can't decide which vein of the legend to go after and the adventure designation isn't earned. Tommy Town (John Schneider) thinks he can find silver in an abandoned mine called Ruby Silver, named after a type of the metal. He calls on a miner's widow (Rebecca Jenkins) and her son (Jonathan Jackson of "General Hospital") and recruits them to cook and help out.

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