Reeling: "Comes a Horseman" (1978)

We enjoyed "Comes a Horseman," a World War II era western I chose to revisit after 30+ years and share with The Sweetie®.

This is the tale of a ruthless cattle rancher / oil-baron-in-waiting (Jason Robards), matching wits and determination against underdog cowpokes (Jane Fonda, James Caan).

The film is entertaining, engrossing, and inadvertently puzzling. Our minds are engulfed in the mystery surrounding the numerous similarities of this screenplay to the television series "Dallas," which debuted in 1978, too. Neither production appears to be officially related to the other in strict plotting or behind-the-cameras lineage or source material, but one can't miss the coincidences, among them:

  • Robards' villain is named Jacob Ewing, phonetically close to Dallas patriarch Jock Ewing. Introducing Robards alternately as J.W. Ewing, as he is, can't help but suggest Jock's given name, John Ross Ewing, Sr. or J.R. Ewing.

  • Fonda's character is Ella, Ewing's desirable land owner prize. The "Dallas'" counterpart is Ellie, Ewing's desirable land owner prize.

  • Crusty Relatives: "Comes a Horseman" has beloved "Dodger." TV has beloved "Digger."

  • Actor Jim Davis, Jacob Ewing's evil henchman, was subsequently cast as Jock Ewing -- whom, I might add, looks EXACTLY the same!

What are the chances of that happening?

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