Peter Brown in:


Written by Jim McCullough Jr. 
Directed by Jim McCullough Sr.
Co-produced by Jim McCullough Jr. & Sr.
Executive Producers
Fred Kuchner & M. Sanousi

PETER BROWN as Sheriff Temple Ferguson
JACK ELAM as Charlie Henkins
MICKEY HAYS as the Aurora Spaceman 
  MINDY SMITH as Sue Beth
WILL MITCHELL as  The Ranger 
Paula Barrett as Secretary 
Foster Litton as Bartender 
Kaye Winters as Mrs. Mikeska 
  Lois Lane as 1st Woman
Ann Hazlett as 2nd Woman 
 Charles B. Pierce as  Preacher 
Don Pirl as Rowdy #1 
Cyrus Theibeault as Rowdy #2 
Rick Phiffer as  Drunk 
Big Charles Gibbons as Tramp
Bob Lewis as  Printer
Big Boi Ridgeback as Moon Dog

This odd little cross-genre western/scifi movie is very loosely based on reports of a supposed alien sighting in the little Texas town of Aurora.   It opens on the funeral of Ben Peebles, the owner of the local newspaper.  His daughter Alain is the local school teacher and the Sheriff's girlfriend.  She plans to add newspaper woman to her resume and keep her father's paper going.  The Sheriff, also called Temple,  is a little skeptical of her ability to handle all those roles.  But she's portrayed as a dynamic "modern" woman who rides a bicycle and is an enthusiastic school teacher who encourages girls as well as boys to get a good education.
Three of the female students figure heavily into the story, especially Sue Beth.

Sue Beth


Jack Elam is Charlie the town drunk who sells an alcoholic elixir for a living.  When he tries to get Alain Peebles to give him a bigger ad in the paper, she reminds him how much trouble her father had collecting the payment for the small ad.  It is then that Alain notes how she needs a hot story to get the paper back on it's feet.
Of course, the landing of an alien craft is just such a story.   The first to spot him is the Widow Irene who finds him peeking in her window.
Temple is clearly skeptical about the imaginings of a lonely widow living on her own.  Alain smells a story.
Alain finds a circle that looks like a mysterious landing spot.  Temple is still skeptical.
Temple warns his sweetheart not to print anything until she has hard evidence.  They have words over this but when she asks him if she'll see him that night, he utters what becomes the affectionate assurance between them, "Of course, one thing has nothing to do with the other."
The next sighting is by the ever-curious Sue Beth.  She sees the little alien get into his ship and finds a prism/crystal he left behind.
Charlie is at home drinking his elixir and playing checkers with himself.  The alien drops by for a game of checkers . . .
And a little of the elixir.
Sue Beth shows Alain the crystal, but won't let her keep it.
Alain waxes eloquent on the subject of space ships.  Temple overhears and applauds her efforts.
But he doesn't think she should print anything until she gets some hard evidence.
She announces her intention to go to the governor to get a statement for the paper.  Temple finds her exasperating but has a "what can I do, I love her" attitude.
Alain gets an audience with the governor on the pretext of being a reporter from the New York Times.  She asks him for a statement about the alien ship seen in Aurora.  When he has no comment, she writes that down as though it was a meaningful response.
After Alain leaves, the governor calls in his private Texas Ranger and sends him to Aurora to check things out and expose the story as a fraud.  In the unlikely event the story is true, he is to dispose of the problem.  It's not clear why he thinks an alien would be a barrier to his political ambitions but apparently he does.
Alain comes home bubbling with pleasure over the simple no comment statement which she intends to use to benefit the story.  Temple doesn't think that's right or that she has the evidence to justify the story of aliens landing in Aurora.
We have a few interludes, watching the alien interact with cows and dogs and seeing Alain, inspired by the stories of space ships, try out a flying machine of her own design.
She maintains her enthusiasm, despite landing in the pond at the bottom of the hill.
Trouble in the person of the Governor's Ranger comes to town.  He questions Charlie.
Charlie returns home to again entertain the alien who trades him a dog he doesn't want for his hat.
In the meantime, the three girls go exploring and fall into a cavern which has mysterious writing on the walls.
While a cave-in threatens the girls and cuts off their exit, the Ranger is out trying to hunt down the alien.
The alien then goes to the aid of the trapped girls, apparently signaled by the crystal  and uses his powers to levitate them out of the cavern.
The sheriff goes out and reinterviews the widow and appears to be more perplexed than ever.
When Alain hears the story of the girls' rescue, she has an idea about the prism/crystal.  She starts taking prisms off a lamp in her office.
As she's trying to explain her plan to Temple and the girls, the Ranger comes in making inquiries about the alien.
Temple recognizes him as a Ranger and asks him what he wants.   The Ranger says he's going to run the story to ground and if there's anything to it, he's going to take down the alien.  Temple tells him, "Not in my town."
Alain gets the whole town out holding prisms to the sky and waiting for the ship to respond.
Temple maintains his skepticism but is supportive of his sweetheart.
When something does appear in the sky, he's amazed, as is the whole town.
However, as the little alien walks out to greet Sue Beth who goes forward to give him the crystal, a shot rings out.
Temple turns gun drawn and confronts the Ranger who fired the shot.  The Ranger puts his hands up but the damage is done.
The little alien is dead.
And for some unexplained reason (probably related to shooting schedules and not plot) it's now night.
And so the story ends as it began, with a funeral.
Only on this occasion we see some kind of unexplained glowing light which suggests the alien's soul or spirit is returning to his place of origin.

NiteOwl Review:  This was a harmless, silly, not very interesting, low-budget movie.  It had the simplicity of a Disney movie but without the charm despite the appearance of Jack Elam and Dottie West.  It was more disappointing to us because it was Peter's only full length Western (unless you count the movies made from Laredo episodes for overseas distribution).  Of course, it it was nice to see him in Western garb, riding a horse (briefly) and drawing his gun (once) but it just reminded us that he still had what it takes to make a Western and made us long for a real one.  (And anyone who's seen Peter compete in cowboy mounted shooting recently can see he still has what it takes to make a Western.)

We had to wonder, if the producers were such good friends of the family of the boy playing the alien. whether the whole thing was like a grossly expensive gesture along the lines of the make-a-wish foundation's practice of sending terminally ill children to Disneyland.

Cast Notes:  The most interesting part of the movie is the boy who played the alien with not much added to make him an alien except some ear prothesis.  Mickey Hays was a personable, upbeat little boy suffering from progeria, a genetic condition which virtually guaranteed he would not live to see twenty.  He appeared on the Phil Donahue show several times in the middle eighties wearing a baseball cap and cheerfully answering questions about his condition.   During his second appearance, other children suffering from the same condition also appeared.  We think there was a third appearance promoting this movie.  According to Peter, Mickey's family and the producers are close friends.  His appearance in this movie was most certainly the highlight of his short life.  Peter said that during the scene where he carried the alien, it was like picking up a bird because Mickey's bones were so light (as the result of osteoporosis).

A website for the syndrome states:  "Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is an extremely rare genetic disease that accelerates the aging process to about seven times the normal rate. Because of this accelerated aging, a child of ten years will have similar respiratory, cardiovascular, and arthritic conditions that a 70-year-old would have. Currently, there is no cure for this disease, and because of its rare nature, no definitive cause can be pinpointed.

"Progeria affects between 1 in 4 million (estimated actual) and 1 in 8 million (reported) children, with a total reported incidence of just over 100 in the century since it's been identified. There are currently between 30 and 40 known cases worldwide of Progeria. Children from all races and cultures from around the world have been affected. Some physical features of Progeria children include dwarfism, wrinkled/aged-looking skin, baldness, and a pinched nose. Mental growth is equivalent to other children of the same age. Most children with Progeria live no longer than their early teenage years, though one or two have lived to be as old as 20 or 21."

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