Macon County Line is a 1974 American independent film directed by Richard Compton and produced by Max Baer, Jr. Baer and Compton also co-wrote the film, in which Baer stars as a vengeful county sheriff in Alabama out for blood after his wife is brutally killed by a pair of drifters.
The $225,000 film reportedly became the single most profitable film of 1974 (in cost-to-gross ratio), earning $18.8 million in North America and over $30 million worldwide.
The film is docudrama in tone. Although it was presented as "a true story" to attract a wider audience (much like the Hollywood revisionist film Walking Tall of 1973), its plot and characters are entirely fictional.
A vengeful Southern sheriff is out for blood after his wife is brutally killed by a pair of drifters. Low-budget film set in Georgia in 1953 and based on fact.
In 1954 Macon County, Georgia, brothers Chris (Alan Vint) and Wayne Dixon (Jesse Vint), are on a two-week spree of cheap thrills throughout the South before their upcoming stint in the Air Force. A pair of Chicago transplants, Wayne applied for service when his brother Chris was given the option of military service or prison as the result of an earlier episode with the law. Driving through Louisiana, the brothers pick up hitchhiker Jenny Scott (Cheryl Waters), a pretty blond with a shady backstory that she would rather not discuss.
Meanwhile, local backwater town sheriff Reed Morgan (Baer) is preparing to bring back his son Luke (Leif Garrett) from military school. Hunting season begins the next day and he buys Luke a new shotgun. While Chris, Jenny, and Wayne cruise through the back roads of Louisiana, they have car trouble. They stall out in Sherriff Morgans town. Unable to repair the car, they shake together enough money to get it patched up by garage owner Hamp (Geoffrey Lewis).
Waiting at the garage, they are informally threatened by Morgan, who says they could be picked up for vagrancy if they decided to stick around. Not interested in trouble, the brothers and Jenny head out once their car is running. But another breakdown – this time near a fresh crime scene of a rape and murder of Morgans wife by two men who also have killed a cop – puts the trio into a lethal situation with Morgan. There is a devastating finale for all.
The film earned $10 million in rentals in North America.
Home video releases
Anchor Bay released the film on both VHS and DVD in February 2000. The Anchor Bay DVD release included an audio commentary with director Richard Compton and the featurette, Macon County Line – 25 Years Down the Road. Both the VHS and DVD have been out of print since 2007.
The Warner Home Video DVD was issued on May 6, 2008. It uses the same transfer from the 2000 DVD release and is single-layered including subtitles - with no extra features of any kind.
Macon County Line and Return to Macon County are part of the same movie series. Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright (2010). Walking Tall (1973). Certain Fury (1985). Zero Tolerance (1995).
Richard Compton directed the film Return to Macon County, released theatrically in 1975. Despite its title, the film is not a sequel, although it loosely follows a similar plot of mistaken identity.