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Kenny Rogers as The Gambler

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler (also known as The Gambler) is a 1980 American made-for-television Western film directed by Dick Lowry. The film premiered on CBS on April 8, 1980. It was loosely based on the Grammy-winning Kenny Rogers song of the same name, and stars the singer as Brady Hawkes, a gambler trying to reunite with a son he never knew, played by Ronnie Scribner. It was a critical and commercial success, receiving an Eddie Award and two Emmy nominations, and resulting in four sequels.

Plot

Gambler Brady Hawkes (Kenny Rogers) receives a letter from Jeremiah (Ronnie Scribner), the young son he never knew, who asks Hawkes to help him and his mother Eliza (Christine Belford); the two are living in Yuma with Jeremiah's stepfather, an abusive casino owner named Rufe Bennett (Clu Gulager). Hawkes embarks on a train in El Paso, Texas on a journey to meet him. Along the way, he meets young poker player Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner). Hawkes saves Montana from two belligerent cheaters and the two become friends. Montana fancies himself as a professional player, and is headed to San Francisco for an international poker tournament. Although Montana makes mistakes along the way (some of these include: trying to find a way to cheat or do some smooth talking), Hawkes makes sure that he stays on good behavior during the train ride. The duo help Jennie Reed (Lee Purcell), a former prostitute who has trouble with a train baron (Harold Gould). At the end, they confront Bennett in a gunfight.