Rick Santorum's new western flick is about a rootin' tootin' outlaw finding Jesus
Rick Santorum speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

It looks to have all the traditional ingredients of a truly rootin' tootin' western, including bank robberies, gunfights and murderous outlaws out for revenge. But The Redemption of Henry Myers, the new movie from former US presidential wannabe Rick Santorum, also throws something fresh into the mix: Jesus.

The evangelical tale, which debuted on the Hallmark Movie Channel in the US on Sunday, is the latest Christian-oriented movie from Santorum's film production company EchoLight Studios. It centres on a dark-hearted outlaw, who finds himself being hunted by his former partners in crime after absconding from an abortive bank robbery with a bag full of swag.

Henry takes a bullet for his pains, but finds himself nursed back to health by a God-fearing widow and her children. The intrigue deepens when the identity of the woman's late husband becomes clear, and Myers is faced with the choice of a life of faith or a return to his dastardly frontier existence.

"There's a message for everybody out there as to how we forgive," said Santorum. "And do we forgive? And the process which you have to go through to do that."

The former Pennsylvania senator, who was appointed CEO of EchoLight in June last year, told Politico he had not given up on the possibility of a new run for president in 2016. However, he said: "My focus right now is doing a good job with this movie company and trying to put it on the right path to be successful as a company and I don't miss what's going in Washington DC that's for darn sure. It's as toxic a place I've seen and so it's sort of nice to be on the outside in the private sector right now."

The Redemption of Henry Myers follows December's The Christmas Candle, which starred Susan Boyle as a 19th-century churchwoman with the voice of an angel. Santorum is executive producer and the film is directed by Clayton Miller from a script he wrote with Chris Vanderkaay and Charlie Shahnaian.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote of Santorum's earlier effort: "A real Christmas miracle would cause every copy of this film to spontaneously burst into flames."

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[Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]