A remarkably ambitious and engrossing project, this 1978 television miniseries ran 26-and-a-half hours, cost a then-enormous $25 million, and involved 4 directors, 5 cinematographers, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 speaking parts. Based on James Michener's panoramic bestseller about the settling of the American West--as reflected in the history of a fictional town called Centennial, Colorado--the story begins in the late 18th century and ends with a typical 20th century conflict over land usage. Centennial, however, largely concentrates on various memorable frontiersmen, trappers, Indians, ranchers, cowboys, and farmers from long ago. Richard Chamberlain shines as the pioneer Alexander McKeag, Robert Conrad does some of his best work as French-Canadian Pasquinel, and performances by Alex Karras, Chad Everett, Sally Kellerman, Raymond Burr, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, and Dennis Weaver effectively add to a tapestry of adventure, tragedy, violence, and dubious Western progress. Produced at a time when TV networks were in the throes of acknowledging America's history of racial injustice, the program paints a starkly villainous portrait of opportunists exploiting and destroying Indians in the name of manifest destiny. While the project's great length might make one wary of diving in, Centennial is the sort of carefully paced drama that makes one care about the intertwined destinies of unique characters and how they illuminate America's past. --Tom Keogh
Tapes 1-4 are in excellent condition Tapes 5 -12 are still in original plastic wrap.
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