Last updated

Film poster
Genre Adventure
Based onThe Tintype
by Ray Brown
Screenplay by Brian Clemens
Directed by Michael Schultz
Starring William Devane
Klaus Kinski
Lauren Hutton
John Ratzenberger
Theme music composer Craig Safan
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producer Charles W. Fries
Producers Richard Maynard
John Newland
Milton T. Raynor
Production locations3491 Tapo Street, Simi Valley, California
The Rock Store - 30354 Mulholland Highway, Cornell, California
Indian Dunes - 28700 Henry Mayo Drive, Valencia, California
Ennis House - 2607 Glendower Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
Newhall Ranch - Rt. 126, Valencia, California
CinematographyHarry Mathias
EditorConrad M. Gonzalez
Running time100 minutes
Production companiesNewland/Raynor Productions Inc.
Fries Entertainment
Original network CBS
Original release
  • March 10, 1987 (1987-03-10)(CBS)

Timestalkers is a 1987 American made-for-television science fiction film directed by Michael Schultz and starring William Devane. The film is based on Ray Brown's story The Tintype.



In 1986, Dr. Scott McKenzie (William Devane) is a college professor and ardent fan of the gunslinger culture of the Old West. A year ago, McKenzie watched his wife and son die in a car crash caused by a drunk driver attempting to flee the police. With his friend, General Joe Brodsky (John Ratzenberger), McKenzie attends an auction of Wild West memorabilia, where they agree to bid on a pair of steamer trunks and split the contents between them. As the auction is conducted, flashbacks show the items' histories in the 19th century. At the time a man, Joseph Cole (Klaus Kinski), is looking for a gunslinger who has a pair of distinctive ebony-handled pistols marked with stars. Some cowboys he encounters on the road point him towards the town of Crossfire, California. At the town saloon, he inquires about the man, but is harassed by a trio of local thugs, one of whom shoots at him, hitting instead one of the trunks which Dr. McKenzie is bidding on in the present. Cole quickly shoots all three men dead, an event memorialized by a local photographer. In the present, McKenzie and Brodsky win the trunks at auction and McKenzie begins sorting through the contents, noticing the picture of the men who Cole killed. [1]

Under photo enhancement, McKenzie notices Cole in the background of the picture and identifies the gun Cole is carrying as a .357 Magnum from the 1980s. Despite this, chemical and spectroscopic testing indicates that the photograph is at least 100 years old. McKenzie becomes convinced that Cole is a time traveler. After writing up his findings, he is approached by a woman, Georgia Crawford (Lauren Hutton), who claims to be working on similar ideas. Together they locate Crossfire in the present. When they split up to search the town, Georgia ducks into an old barn and removes a crystalline device which she uses to travel back to the 1880s. There she searches for Cole at a nearby river, but her horse is spooked by a rattlesnake. She dispatches the snake with a futuristic gun. Hurrying back to town, she is followed by Cole, who had observed her from afar. He arrives too late to stop her from traveling to the present, but he uses a device of his own to find out the time to which she traveled. In the present, McKenzie hears a noise and arrives at the barn just in time to see Georgia return from the past. When he confronts her, she admits to being one of a number of time travelers from the 26th century. Returning to McKenzie's home she explains that Cole is a renegade scientist from her time who she has been sent back to stop. She believes that Cole, who developed the time travel technology with her father, is intending to change history. Through research, Georgia and McKenzie determine that Cole is likely trying to kill Matthew Crawford, an adviser to President Grover Cleveland.

The gunfighter who Cole is searching for, the mysterious "Star-Handled Stranger," was a gunslinger who crucially helped protect the President and his escort from bandits. Matthew Crawford was Georgia's ancestor and killing him would erase her entire family from history, including her father who had opposed Cole's desire to continue research on time travel. McKenzie and Georgia enlist Joe Brodsky's help in determining President Cleveland's movements, but before Brodsky can give them the information, Cole murders him and flees into the past. Finding a copy of the information, they discover that Cole is traveling back to July 11, 1886, when the mysterious "Star-Handled Stranger" helped save President Cleveland from a bandit attack. Traveling back in time to 1886, Georgia and McKenzie watch as the attack begins when the Stranger arrives on the scene and tries to enter the attack, he is shot dead by Cole. McKenzie then takes the Stranger's signature pistols and rides towards the battle himself. Cole follows him. While McKenzie manages to kill the attacking bandits, Cole shoots Matthew Crawford. McKenzie then kills Cole in a one-on-one duel. Returning to the stagecoach, Georgia and McKenzie discover that Matthew Crawford was merely wounded. As the stagecoach drives off, Georgia and McKenzie return to the present where Georgia gives him a gift before returning to her own time. She is somehow able to send the knowledge of the death of McKenzie's wife and child back to his earlier self so that he is able to save their lives. [2]


Broadcast history

The film made its premiere on CBS as a well-promoted "movie of the week" on March 10, 1987. Actor Forrest Tucker died before the film was broadcast so his appearance is posthumous. The film was given generally positive reviews by the critics and did well in the ratings, winning its timeslot. It was repeated during August 1987 then went to syndication. It was aired occasionally by Lifetime and Sci-Fi Channel networks through the 1990s. It was aired several times during the spring and summer of 2010 on the This TV Network. Rocket TV Network has run it as one of its movies-of-the-month in both December 2015 and December 2016.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Klaus Kinski</span> German actor (1926–1991)

Klaus Kinski was a German actor, equally renowned for his intense performance style and notorious for his volatile personality. He appeared in over 130 film roles in a career that spanned 40 years, from 1948 to 1988. He played leading parts in five films directed by Werner Herzog, who later chronicled their tumultuous relationship in the documentary My Best Fiend (1999).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Quantrill</span> American Confederate guerilla leader (1837–1865)

William Clarke Quantrill was a Confederate guerrilla leader and mass murderer during the American Civil War.

Gunfighters, also called gunslingers, or in the late 19th and early 20th century, gunmen were individuals in the American Old West who gained a reputation of being dangerous with a gun and participated in gunfights and shootouts. Today, the term "gunslinger" is more or less used to denote someone who is quick on the draw with a handgun, but this can also refer to those armed with rifles and shotguns. The gunfighter is also one of the most popular characters in the Western genre and has appeared in associated films, television shows, video games, and literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Devane</span> American actor (born 1939)

William Joseph Devane is an American actor. He is known for his role as Greg Sumner on the primetime soap opera Knots Landing (1983–1993) and as James Heller on the Fox serial dramas 24 (2001–2010) and 24: Live Another Day (2014). He is also known for his work in films such as Family Plot (1976), Marathon Man (1976), Rolling Thunder (1977), Payback (1999), and Space Cowboys (2000).

<i>Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac</i> American TV series or program

Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac is a 1997 American television miniseries which is a continuation of the 1979–1993 prime time soap opera Knots Landing and takes place four years after the series ended. Directed by Bill Corcoran, the four-hour miniseries was originally broadcast in two parts on CBS on May 7 and 9, 1997.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Younger</span> American outlaw (1851–1874)

John Harrison Younger was an American outlaw, the brother of Cole, Jim and Bob. He was briefly a member of the James–Younger Gang, a band of outlaws who also included the infamous Jesse James.

<i>Gun</i> (video game) 2005 video game

Gun is a Western-themed action-adventure video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox 360 in 2005. The PlayStation Portable version was released a year later under the title Gun: Showdown, this version features new side-missions, a multiplayer mode, and other additions that were not available in the console versions.

<i>The Great Silence</i> 1968 film directed by Sergio Corbucci

The Great Silence is a 1968 revisionist Spaghetti Western film directed and co-written by Sergio Corbucci. An Italian-French co-production, the film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Klaus Kinski, Vonetta McGee and Frank Wolff, with Luigi Pistilli, Mario Brega, Marisa Merlini and Carlo D'Angelo in supporting roles.

<i>Vampire in Venice</i> 1988 Italian horror film

Vampire in Venice, also known as Prince of the Night and Nosferatu in Venice is a 1988 Italian supernatural horror film directed by Augusto Caminito and an uncredited Klaus Kinski, and starring Kinski, Christopher Plummer, Donald Pleasence, and Barbara De Rossi. The story follows Professor Paris Catalano (Plummer), who travels to Venice following the trail of the last known appearance of Nosferatu (Kinski), who was seen at Carnival in 1786. Catalano learns through a séance that the vampire is seeking eternal death, and tries to put an end to its existence once and for all.

<i>Schizoid</i> (film) 1980 film by David Paulsen

Schizoid is a 1980 American slasher film directed and written by David Paulsen, and starring Klaus Kinski, Marianna Hill, Craig Wasson, Christopher Lloyd, and Donna Wilkes. It follows a Los Angeles advice columnist who is subject to a series of threatening anonymous letters, while members of a group therapy she attends are being stalked and murdered by a killer armed with shearing scissors.

Orlando Cole was an American cello teacher who taught two generations of soloists, chamber musicians, and first cellists in a dozen leading orchestras, including David Cole, Lynn Harrell, Jonah Kim, Ronald Leonard, Lorne Munroe, Peter Stumpf and Marcy Rosen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rachel Kinski</span> Fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours

Rachel Kinski is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Caitlin Stasey. She made her first appearance during the episode broadcast on 18 August 2005. She is the middle child of Alex Kinski and sister to Zeke and Katya Kinski. Rachel's storylines ranged from parental bereavement and first love to an inappropriate relationship with an older man. Rachel departed on 11 March 2009, following Stasey's decision to quit the series to focus on her studies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zeke Kinski</span> Fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours

Zeke Kinski is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Matthew Werkmeister. He made his first on-screen appearance on 22 August 2005. Zeke is the son of Alex Kinski and the younger brother of Katya and Rachel. His storylines have included the death of his father, being trapped in the warehouse collapse, developing an anxiety disorder, joining Pirate Net and forming many romantic relationships. In October 2010, it was announced that Werkmeister and his character were to leave Neighbours. Zeke made his final appearance on 11 March 2011. In February 2014, it was announced that Werkmeister would be returning to Neighbours for a brief guest stint and Zeke returned on 7 April 2014.

The Gunslinger is a fantasy novella by American writer Stephen King, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in October 1978. In 1982, "The Gunslinger" was collected with four other stories King published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. "The Gunslinger" formed the first chapter of the book, and was slightly revised for the inclusion.

<i>Lonesome Dove</i> (miniseries) 1989 TV mini-series

Lonesome Dove is a 1989 American epic Western adventure television miniseries directed by Simon Wincer. It is a four-part adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry and is the first installment in the Lonesome Dove series. The novel was based upon a screenplay by Peter Bogdanovich and McMurtry. The miniseries stars an ensemble cast headed by Robert Duvall as Augustus McCrae and Tommy Lee Jones as Woodrow Call. The series was originally broadcast by CBS from February 5 to 8, 1989, drawing a huge viewing audience, earning numerous awards, and reviving both the television Western and the miniseries.

<i>The Village Barbershop</i> 2008 American film

The Village Barbershop is a 2008 independent film written and directed by Chris J. Ford and starring John Ratzenberger and Shelly Cole. Ratzenberger plays Art Leroldi, a Reno barber forced to hire a new employee, Gloria MacIntyre, played by Cole, after the death of his longtime business partner. Faced with losing his shop, Gloria helps Art get his life and business back on track with her feisty, determined attitude.

<i>Paper Girls</i> Comic book series

Paper Girls is a mystery/science fiction comic book series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, and published by Image Comics. The colorist is Matt Wilson, the letterer and designer is Jared K. Fletcher, and the color flatter is Dee Cunniffe. The series began publication on October 7, 2015 and concluded on July 31, 2019 with issue #30.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cultural depictions of Jesse James</span> Jesse James as depicted in media

Cultural depictions of Jesse James appear in various types of media, including literature, video games, comics, music, stage productions, films, television, and radio. James is variously described as an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang. After the American civil war, as members of various gangs of outlaws, Jesse and Frank James robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains across the Midwest, gaining national fame and even sympathy despite their crimes. James became an iconic figure from the era, and his life has been dramatized and memorialized numerous times.


  1. Canton, Maj. "Timestalkers". Radio Times . Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  2. Shales, Tom (March 10, 1987). "No Time for Timestalkers". The Washington Post . Retrieved December 16, 2020.