Moonshine County Express (1977)

Moonshine County Express (1977)

“It’s real fine whiskey, so sell it dear — and get yourself out of these hills. Life is too hard, and the men are mean and ignorant.”

Synopsis:
When their dad (Fred Foresman) is brutally murdered by his greedy former business partner (William Conrad), a young woman (Susan Howard) and her two sisters (Claudia Jennings and Maureen McCormick) refuse to give up his secretly buried stash of aged whiskey, instead seeking help from a local racer (John Saxon) in outwitting Conrad and his men.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Bootlegging
  • Claudia Jennings Films
  • Deep South
  • Inheritance
  • Strong Females

Review:
Following her lead in The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1976), Claudia Jennings took a less central role in this backwoods adventure flick about three feisty females protecting their rightful inheritance and planning to make a bundle selling their dad’s secret stock of whiskey:

This film is mildly notable for featuring Maureen McCormick in a post-“Brady Bunch” role playing the wide-eyed youngest sister “Sissy” (that’s sure a change from oldest-sister Marcia Brady!):

… and should be commended for portraying the three sisters (well, primarily the two older ones) as competent, resilient, and resourceful rather than merely passive sex objects. Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard (if well made) drive-in flick featuring lots of car chases (and crashes) on dusty roads:

… and a minor romantic subplot that doesn’t take up too much space, but allows Saxon to play an important supporting role:

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • A refreshing depiction of strong young females standing up to a local bully

Must See?
No, though fans of such flicks will of course want to check it out. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.

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One thought on “Moonshine County Express (1977)

  1. First viewing (10/3/20). Not must-see.

    ~ but it’s better than one might expect for a drive-in flick of its kind… at least for the first hour.

    Expecting very little – if anything – I found myself rather caught up in this low-budget flick about the making of moonshine whiskey. As it develops, it catches interest in its plot and characters and director Gus Trikonis moves things along well-enough, even providing some welcome subtlety. There’s a bit of a lapse in logic but you probably won’t mind. The three leading ladies capture sympathy through their non-stereotype depictions of backwoods women. I was less familiar with Howard – but it was nice seeing Jennings being this sympathetic and it’s fun watching McCormick in a non-Brady Bunch setting. Even Saxon is better than usual.

    There’s a fair amount of snappy dialogue (“What’s the matter? Some woman got you by the short and curlies?”)

    However, even though the chase-action is rather non-stop in the film’s final third, things become rather mechanical and slapdash as the plot starts into its wind-up. It’s still rather watchable.

    There’s additional, more-professional support from some character actors like Conrad, Jeff Corey, Dub Taylor and Albert Salmi.

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