The film begins with various shots of the audience chanting "Dusty!", which is repeated throughout. Meanwhile, the band begins, as the smoke and the lights are turned on, we see Wyatt "Dusty" Chandler (George Strait) entering the stage, and performing "Heartland", "Baby Your Baby", and a shortened version of "Where the Sidewalk Ends". Dusty feels that his elaborate stage show is overwhelming his music, a suspicion confirmed one night when he purposely forgets several bars of a chart-topping hit and his fans don't even notice. Disillusioned, Dusty walks off after the concert without telling his manager, Lula (Lesley Ann Warren). The only person he tells is his best friend and drummer, Earl (John Doe), and that he is "taking a walk," but does not say exactly where he is going or for how long. Dusty is singing a blurry version of "Where the Sidewalk Ends". In a down home bar, we see Al (Mark Walters). Dusty had breakfast with the Tucker family during this scene.
After shaving his beard and cutting off his ponytail, Dusty heads for the small farm town where he grew up, visiting his wise old grandmother (Molly McClure) and ending up at the ranch of the Tucker family, where nobody recognizes him. He stays on at the ranch, paying room and board and taking roping lessons, all the while earning the respect of owner Ernest (Rory Calhoun) and falling in love with Ernest's granddaughter, Harley (Isabel Glasser), a woman determined to save the struggling spread with victory in a Las Vegas rodeo. They were both fighting in the rain outside.
Meanwhile, we see the same crowd from the film's beginning, as we see Lula putting her boyfriend Buddy Jackson (Kyle Chandler) into Dusty's outfit by showing the voice on tape, and he was lip-syncing to it, he returns to the stage. He demands that his stage shows be toned down, without all the smoke and elaborate lighting of which he had grown weary. His first appearance after his "vacation" is in Las Vegas at the same time as the rodeo Harley Tucker is competing in. He writes a special love song just for her and arranges for her and her family to have front-row seats to the concert. True to his wishes, he does the show without all the smoke and the lights and sits on the edge of the stage, playing guitar and singing "I Cross My Heart," which wins him Harley's love. The film ends with the two hugging at the edge of the stage, and then the credits roll with the song "She Lays it All on the Line".George Strait as Wyatt "Dusty" ChandlerLesley Ann Warren as Lula RogersIsabel Glasser as Harley TuckerKyle Chandler as Buddy JacksonJohn Doe as Earl BlackstockRory Calhoun as Ernest TuckerMolly McClure as Grandma Ivy ChandlerMark Walters as Al
Pure Country was filmed in 1991 throughout Texas, but mostly in Maypearl.
The graveyard scene was shot at Cresson Cemetery in Cresson, Texas, and the concert sequences were filmed at concert venues in Fort Worth, including North Side Coliseum.
The bar scenes where Dusty meets Harley were filmed at Western Kountry Klub, located between Midlothian and Mansfield Tx.
Despite Strait's super-star status in the music world, Pure Country only grossed just over $15 million at the box office.
Although the expectations had been higher for Strait's first major film role, this did not stop the soundtrack album from becoming the best-selling of Strait's career to date.
The film also received mainly negative reviews upon its release, but critics responded nicely to certain aspects of the film. It currently has a score of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 10, and a 91% audience approval.
On the television program Siskel and Ebert in 1992, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both gave the film a "Two thumbs down" rating, but their reviews were more mixed than negative. Both praised George Strait's performance citing it was very good, and he was a convincing actor in the lead, especially considering the challenges of a singer becoming an actor, and they both enjoyed Isabel Glasser's performance, but felt the film was undermined by a hokey story, and no moments for satire which would have made the film better.
Film critic Leonard Maltin, in the book Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide, also gave the film a mainly negative but somewhat mixed review, giving it two stars out of four and saying: "This Strait showcase is mostly pure tedium, though the film picks up some in hour two with the appearance of Glasser, and Rory Calhoun as her father".
A sequel to Pure Country, Pure Country 2: The Gift was released on October 15, 2010. Pure Country 2: The Gift has no storyline connection to the original movie written by Rex McGee. Instead, it focuses on a young woman's struggles to become a country singer. George Strait appears as himself, but not as a central character of the film.
A second sequel titled, Pure Country: Pure Heart is schedule for a direct-to-video release on August 1, 2017.See Pure Country (album)