Doonby is not your typical anti-abortion movie. I don’t think the word “abortion” is used in the film, and it’s not even alluded to until the final scenes. Unlike recent documentaries such as 180 and Blood Money, wonderful though they are, Doonby uses narrative — storytelling — to approach the issue obliquely. In fact, for the first 95% of the film, you think you’re watching a well-meaning low-budget thriller about a mysterious guy who shows up in a town and causes a bit of a stir. You wonder where it’s going, but even if you know it’s a pro-life movie, you’re surprised, delighted, and moved by the way it ends.
Doonby stars John Schneider, of “Dukes of Hazzard” and “Smallville” fame, as Sam Doonby, a Southern drifter who arrives in Smithville, TX, with nothing but a backpack and a charming smile. He quickly lands a job at a bar owned by a blues man named Leroy (played by Ernie Hudson, who is known to the world forever, whether he likes it or not, as the black Ghostbuster), and almost as quickly takes up with Laura (Jenn Gotzon), spoiled daughter of the town’s prominent gynecologist (Joe Estevez). Pro-life activist Jennifer O’Neill plays the doctor’s wife.
Throughout the rest of the film Doonby manages to continually be in the right place at the right time when crises occur, to the point that he has a major impact on the lives of many of the town’s residents, including Laura and her family, and attracts the attention of the sheriff (Robert Davi, who you may remember as one of the bad guys in The Goonies).