The grizzled of this world fight against their oncoming twilight in the western fantasy feature Showdown in Yesteryear, directed by Aaron Bratcher and written by Gregory Lamberson and Tim O’Hearn. Daryl (Jeff Grennell) is a broken-down cowpoke born too late into the modern age. He saved his stable money for a ring for his old lady. It’s too bad she just left him for someone who doesn’t always sit around watching old John Wayne films. Drunken and downtrodden, Daryl rides out on the range to find a tree to hang himself. As he stares through the noose, he sees a doorway in the middle of the pasture. He confirms it is a single-standing wooden door with nothing behind it and walks through.
On the other side, Daryl finds himself leaving an ice cream shop in the middle of an old West town. He tries to purchase an admission ticket from Marion (Debra Lamb) at the mercantile store, as he is sure he wandered into a theme park by mistake. Marion is confused by his questions and manner, which Daryl takes as a performer’s commitment to remain in character. He goes to drink the day away at the saloon, struggling to find a currency that the bartender, Buddy (Aaron Bratcher), will accept. While working a bottle of whisky, he witnesses Jesse the Beast (Jesse Marciniak) gun down a gambler in cold blood.
“…arrives to demand that his henchman, the Beast, be released. Instead of complying, the sheriff releases Daryl and deputizes him.”
When the Beast refuses to stand down to Sheriff Dobbs (Steve Graf), Daryl goes upside the Beast’s head with a bottle. The Beast is thrown in jail, but soon after, Daryl is arrested by Deputy Harris (M.K. Smith) for acting plumb loco by jabbering about being from the future. While Daryl is locked up and Sheriff Dobbw examines that funny “Driver’s License” of his, local crime boss Orson (Vernon Wells) arrives to demand that his henchman, the Beast, be released. Instead of complying, the sheriff releases Daryl and deputizes him. The cobra venom stare from Orson informs them both that their days walking upright and breathing are numbered.
John Prine once sang about aging, saying, “Old trees just grow stronger while rivers run wider every day.” Very few places in the cinematic kingdom are more welcoming to the most senior and wisest among us than the western. It is the last refuge for the old badass and one of the few places where the elderly can still wield power. This is most apparent in the three gentlemen helming the leads in Showdown in Yesteryear. Many cast members are regular actors at Dogwood Pass, the old West theme park in Ohio where Showdown in Yesteryear was filmed. It may explain why some lesser-known players are so seasoned, as they are blasting this sagebrush s**t day in and day out.
"…Golden Age fantasy conventions are fused with Western lore..."