‘The Night They Came Home’ Star Charlie Townsend Explains the ‘Challenges’ of Filming the Western (Video)

Charlie N. Townsend plays Rufus Buck in the new Western, The Night They Came Home. (Credit: Lionsgate)

For up-and-coming actor Charlie Townsend, landing a role in the newly released Western, The Night They Came Home, brought a new opportunity and new challenges.

Townsend plays Rufus Buck, outlaw leader of the infamous Rufus Buck Gang that carried out a violent crime spree in the Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma) in the late 1800s.

Based on real events, the action-packed drama follows the gang of Native American and African American freedmen as they clashed with law enforcement, and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal John Garrett in 1895.

“I was looking at creating my own kind of Western films myself to try and get the ball going, and Rufus Buck was actually one of the stories I was looking into,” Townsend said in a recent Zoom interview. “Then, I just so happened to see the audition come up on my end… And I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll give that a run.'”

Related Story: ‘The Night They Came Home’ Trailer Stars Danny Trejo in the Western About an Outlaw Native American Gang

The role required Townsend to handle a vintage pistol and master riding a horse.

“It took a second, but I was pretty comfortable. They gave me a horse that was kind to me,” he explained. “I got to spend a little time with her, and I was petting it. I feel like it’s a living being, so you want to respect it.”

[Watch the interview below]

The actor found the rapid-fire filming schedule in Santa Clarita, California — just outside Los Angeles — much more challenging than bonding with the horse.

“For this particular film, a lot of the challenges were really just time. We shot this thing very fast, I think it was a nine-day shoot. So it was just a lot of run and gun,” Townsend said.

What helped was the producers allowed the cast to improvise.

“They were okay with us kind of just improvving a lot of it. We had a good template in the script and just kind of getting that across,” he added.

The actor said he dug deep to tap into Buck’s criminal behavior.

“Mostly, it was just kind of figuring out his motivations as to why he’s doing these, some would say ‘heinous acts,'” the actor said.

Townsend grew up in Weeki Wachee, Florida, and got his start in small town theater.

In The Night They Came Home, he shares the screen with Hollywood veterans Brian Austin Green, Robert Carradine, and Danny Trejo.

“He’s an icon. It’s just, it still blows my mind that we have Danny in this film,” Townsend said. “You can’t really flip on a TV channel without coming across Danny Trejo nowadays.”

The Night They Came Home is directed by Paul G. Volk from a script by John A. Russo and James O’Brien.

The Western is the latest film to explore the exploits of the Rufus Buck Gang after Hell on the Border (2019) and The Harder They Fall (2021).

The Lionsgate release is currently playing in select theaters and is available on demand. The film arrives on Blu-ray, Feb. 27, 2024.