A Ranger Christmas: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan
As of: 10:20 a.m. E.S.T., Monday, April 10, 2017

Chuck Norris as Ranger Cooper
Title:  "Walker, Texas Ranger":  "A Ranger Christmas"

My Rating:  ***

Adaptation: Starring Chuck Norris as "the Scrooge," Ranger Cooper
and Cordell Walker, Texas Ranger

Date Released: Saturday, December 21, 1996

Format Reviewed: live-action, television episode, on television

Is this adaptation reverent?: Yes, this adaptation is very reverent, as a wanted man, Will Stanton (William Sanderson) tells "the Scrooge" about his faith in Jesus Christ, and he celebrates Christmas as Jesus Christ's birthday.

Does it include the phrase, "God bless us..."? [TBC]

What does my wife think of it? She was moved to tears.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens? This adaptation is one of the loosest adaptations of A Christmas Carol that I've ever seen. Ranger Cooper is, apparently, "the Scrooge," although he's not a particularly evil or stingy man. He's a Texas Ranger when American Indians still ride around on horses, chucking spears at people. But Ranger Cooper doesn't think much of "religion," so Will Stanton preaches him a sermon about faith in Jesus Christ.

Eventually, Ranger Cooper discovers that Timothy, Will's infant, is missing, because he is being held hostage by Cody Diggs (John Dennis Johnston), which is why Will aided and abetted Cody Diggs in a robbery.

Ranger Cooper rescues Timothy from Cody, but avoids killing anyone, out of respect for Will's wish to observe Jesus Christ's birthday. Ranger Cooper doesn't kill anyone, but he shoots and wounds a few people, including Cody.

Red Bear, Ranger Cooper's mortal enemy, follows Ranger Cooper to Will's house, then to the town where Cody and his gang are headquartered, and where he has given Timothy to a woman (Sheree J. Wilson), having told her that the infant was an orphan.

Ranger Cooper tells Cody that his name is John Smith, and infiltrates the gang, but is soon discovered when another mortal enemy recognizes him.

Cody attempts to lynch Ranger Cooper, but Red Bear, a sort of Ghost of Christmas, shoots an arrow which cuts the rope, then uses a knife to cut the bonds on the Ranger's wrists.

Ranger Cooper then shoots the bad guys, talks the woman into relinquishing Timothy, and returns him to his family in time for Christmas Dinner.

What dialect is used? Plain English.

When and where does this adaptation take place? Bethlehem (and other parts of) Texas, circa 1850.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel? No.

Is this adaptation supernatural? Whether or not this adaptation is regarded as supernatural is up to the viewer. Did God guide Red Bear's arrow in saving Ranger Cooper's life? Did God answer Ranger Cooper's prayer during the storm he feared would prevent him from returning Timothy to his family? Perhaps... Perhaps not! Ranger cooper may have just been lucky.

Is this adaptation "framed"? Yes, Ranger Walker tells this Christmas story to orphans in an orphanage.

How attractive is the visual art? The set and wardrobe are good.

How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another? The transitions are good, but not spectacular. Since this story is told as if everything that happens is by chance, or by the choice of the individuals involved, rather than by the intervention of miraculous Spirits, simple fading and cutting suffices to provide enough dramatic effect to hold the viewer's interest.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation? The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, how loosely the characters and events correlate to the orginal novel. It is also notable that Ranger Cooper is, perhaps, the nicest "Scrooge" in any adaptation. Although Jack Palance's Ebenezer and Ranger Cooper both indulge in fist and gun fights in a wild, Western setting, Ranger Cooper does not seem capable of cold-blooded murder, or beating an innocent man with his bare fists, or cheating him out of anything in poker.
What extras are included on the DVD? [Not applicable, since I saw this on television, and do not possess a copy of this episode on DVD]

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