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Great Performances

Sam Shepard's "True West" (#2315)

John Malkovich and Gary Sinise star in the first dramatic work by playwright Sam Shepard produced for television. The play, which first aired on PBS in 1984 as part of the AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE series, is a contemporary comedy/drama set in a rural California community about 40 miles outside of Los Angeles. The drama focuses on the relationship between two brothers -- one a fairly successful screenwriter and the other a down-and-out desert rat and burglar. Theaction begins when the disreputable brother unexpectedly shows up at their mother's house, tended by the straitlaced brother while she's away. The story turns on the reversal of roles after the shady brother "sells" an old-fashioned western story to a Hollywood producer and then tries to convince his more talented brother to write the script. [116 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
Curricular Areas
The Arts
Series Length
263 episodes
Average Episode Length
97 minutes
Record Rights
Record and retain for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
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Series Description: GREAT PERFORMANCES, the longest-running performing arts anthology on television, continues to feature the best in the performing arts.

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