Chicago. 1915. Up-and-coming gangster Al Capone (Eric Roberts) berates his younger brother, Jimmy (Adrian Pasdar), for not being aggressive enough in a street fight. Not wanting to follow his brothers into a life of organized crime, Jimmy runs away from home and eventually finds himself in Harmony, Nebraska. Claiming to be a World War I vet named Richard Hart, Jimmy impresses everyone with both his marksmanship and his incorruptible nature. Soon, the new Richard Hart has been named town marshal. While Al Capone is taking over the Chicago rackets, Richard is keeping the town safe with his Native American deputy, Joseph Littlecloud (Jimmie F. Skaggs), and starting a family with the local school teacher, Kathleen (Ally Sheedy). When illegal liquor from Chicago starts to show up on a nearby Indian reservation, Richard Hart comes into conflict with the Chicago Outfit and his secret is finally revealed.
There is a sliver of truth to this made-for-TV movie. Al Capone really did have a brother named James, who ended up changing his name to Richard Hart and working as a prohibition agent in Nebraska. Otherwise, the movie changes so many facts that it is hard to know where to begin. In real life, Al and James Capone grew up in New York. James, who was actually several years older than Al, ran away from home not to escape Al’s bullying but because he wanted to join the circus. (Al was only 9 when James ran away.) James changed his name to Richard Hart not to keep people from realizing that he was related to Al but because he admired silent screen cowboy William S. Hart. Though James did work in law enforcement, he never came into conflict with Al Capone’s organization and, in fact, regularly visited Chicago.
The Lost Capone is a forgettable mix of western and gangster clichés, featuring a notably stiff performance from Adrian Pasdar in the lead role. It does feature two of the strangest performances that I have ever seen. Eric Roberts, complete with a phony scar, playing Al Capone is just as weird as it sounds, while Ally Sheedy plays a wholesome and always smiling teacher but delivers her lines in the same halting tone of voice that she used as the “basket case” in The Breakfast Club.
There is probably a good movie that could be made about the life of James Capone/Richard Hart but The Lost Capone is not it.