Grim Prairie Tales is a 1990 American independent western-horror film, written and directed by Wayne Coe, and starring an ensemble cast including James Earl Jones, Brad Dourif, Will Hare, Marc McClure, William Atherton, and Lisa Eichhorn.
It is an anthology film of four separate stories, told by two travellers around a prairie campfire. Morrison (Jones) is a grizzled bounty hunter carrying a body, while Farley Deeds (Dourif) is a clerk on the way to a romantic reunion with his wife.
The first story, told by Morrison, is about an Indian tribe's revenge against a grouchy old man (Will Hare) who desecrates their burial ground. When that tale fails to impress Deeds, the second story, also by Morrison, tells about a man (Marc McClure) who helps a seductive seemingly pregnant woman (Michelle Joyner) in trouble. Deeds then responds with the only non-supernatural story of the three, about a homesteader family whose father (William Atherton) is forced to participate in a lynch mob. Finally, Morrison tells about a gunslinger (Scott Paulin) haunted by a gunman (Bruce Fischer) he has killed in a shootout. The next morning, Deeds points out to Morrison that the body he's carrying doesn't match the description on the wanted poster; Morrison cuts the body loose and rides out.James Earl Jones as Morrison
Brad Dourif as Farley Deeds
Will Hare as Lee
Michelle Joyner as Jenny
Marc McClure as Tom
William Atherton as Arthur
Lisa Eichhorn as Maureen
Wendy J. Cooke as Eva
Scott Paulin as Martin
Tom Simcox as Horn
Bruce M. Fischer as Colochez
The film was the sole directorial outing from Coe, a storyboard artist and set decorator. At one point, Coe was considering making a sequel entitled Grim Prairie Tales: Rescue Party. The film was the feature film debut of future Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kamiński, who at the time worked as a lighting technician and 2nd unit director under fellow DP Phedon Papamichael.
Atherton appeared in the lead role in the 1978 NBC television western miniseries Centennial. Tom Simcox appeared in Grim Prairie Tales as the wealthy rancher Horn. In an acting career from 1962-1991, he appeared in eight Gunsmoke episodes and in other television westerns.
As of 2017, the film has not been released on DVD, with both the VHS and LaserDisc out of print.