The action-packed movie is the classic story of a rebellious youth put back on the right path by a wise elder and a wilderness quest. Families with teenagers who watch it together will find it generates valuable discussions on life and becoming responsible.
Clay Watkins (Sam Huntington, "Fanboys," "Superman Returns"), an angry teenager haunted by the death of his father, has moved to the small town where his grandfather, Buster Watkins (Barry Corbin, "Northern Exposure"), is sheriff. Angry and struggling, Clay just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Buster sets up a roadblock on Clay's collision course with the law by presenting him with a choice: successfully navigate by canoe a 60-mile stretch of the rugged and perilous Pecos River or go to jail.
Through the hardship, danger and stark beauty of life on the river, Clay confronts the fear and grief at the root of his anger and learns a few things about being a good man.
The cast also includes Caroline Goodall ("Schindler's List") as widow Sarah Watkins, Clay's distraught mother; Charles Durning ("The Sting," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"); and Clint Howard ("Cinderella Man," "My Dog Skip").
THE MAKING OF "RIVER'S END"
With the theatrical release in Central Texas in February 2007 of the dramatic and heartfelt family/adventure film "River's End," screenwriter and co-director Glen Stephens is realizing the accomplishment of a vision — one of good people telling good stories and Texas values of honesty, integrity and fairness.
The prolific Stephens had been writing screenplays for 20 years, with 18 to his credit, and wanted access to the right people in the industry. When one of his screenplays, another family adventure, "Wooly Boys," was purchased in 1997 (filmed in 2001 with Kris Kristofferson and Peter Fonda; released 2005, available on DVD), he realized he could have maintained more control of the story had he been that film's director. His next move was to gather investors who believed in him, begin a production company and direct his own projects.
The Productin company was named Molding Clay Productions for the original name of the "River's End" story, a story born out of the lessons Stephens had learned on the rugged Pecos River in West Texas.
When veteran actor and Fort Worth rancher Corbin heard about the project, he lobbied Stephens for the role of a wise lawman who seeks to save his grandson with a series of survival lessons recorded on tape. Charlie Robinson would win the role of the sheriff's deputy after Cathy Stephens recommended the former "Night Court" actor to her husband. Co-director William Katt ("Carrie," TV's "Greatest American Hero"), who also plays a role in the movie, has been a friend for several years.
From the Hill Country town of Menard, home base for both Stephens and Molding Clay Productions, Stephens produced and co-directed the 94-minute film with Katt. Crews filmed most of the story in a fast three weeks in the town of Menard (with and because of great cooperation and assistance from the community) and on rugged rivers across the state: the San Saba, Llano, Pedernales, Colorado and Pecos.
"River's End" immediately snagged a Gold REMI Award at the 2005 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.
When it became clear that most distributors wanted to take profit without assuming any of the risk, Stephens and his investors formed their own distribution company in August 2006, Pumpjack Entertainment, whose visionary Stephens-like motto is "good people, great stories."
Pumpjack's first triumph was an unheard-of vendor agreement for the "River's End" DVD — an unprecedented deal between a small Texas independent film production company and Anderson Merchandisers, the company that supplies with DVDs the 5,700 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club outlets nationwide.
"River's End" is scheduled for release at Wal-Mart and other retail outlets on Feb. 20, 2007. It has a PG-13 rating for mild language and violence.
Barry Corbin In River `s End Corbin play Sheriff Buster Watkins,the wise Grandfathersness. It's a role he's perfected in a career that covers 25 years and hundreds of appearances in TV series and feature films. He spent five years as former astronaut Maurice Minnifield on "Northern Exposure," and recent roles have included everything from "King of the Hill" to Country Music Television program narrator.
Sam Huntington Huntington, who plays the role of lead character Clay Watkins, is the young actor who got his cinematic start in Tim Allen's "Jungle 2 Jungle" in 1996, but who has been acting since age 9. In addition to being featured in several teen movies, he's also starred in "Fanboys" and as Jim Olsen in 2006's "Superman Returns" and on television as Luke on "Veronica Mars" and "CSI: NY," "CSI: Miami" and "Law & Order." His great-uncle was actor Ralph Bellamy; Huntington was given his Oscar statuette.
Charles Durning The award-winning veteran actor plays the sweet, funny owner of a last-stop outfitter on the river that is key to the "River's End" story. Audiences will know his string of roles from "The Sting" and "Dog Day Afternoon" to "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and "Tootsie." He's played the Pope and Santa Claus and on television recurring roles on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Rescue Me."
Clint Howard The brother of director Ron Howard plays the high school science teacher who must deal with teenage rebelliousness. He's spent his life acting: around 200 movie roles and appearances on television, from child actor in "Gentle Ben" to "Cinderella Man" and three Austin Powers movies. He's had roles in such popular movies as "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "My Dog Skip," "How to Eat Fried Worms" and "Fun with Dick and Jane."
Caroline Goodall The internationally known British actress who has starred in several blockbuster films of the recent past including "The Princess Diaries" and as Emilie Schindler in "Schindler's List" plays Sarah Watkins, mother of the tormented teenager in "River's End." In her stellar career, she was a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company and has been twice nominated as best actress by the Australian Film Institute.