‘Blue Bloods’ Star Donnie Wahlberg Played A Famous Western Outlaw in 1990s Film

by John Jamison
(Photo by Bobby Bank/GC Images)

Long before his days as Danny Reagan on “Blue Bloods,” actor Donnie Wahlberg’s early career saw him acting in movies. In 1999, the young actor starred as Billy the Kid in a TV Western titled “Purgatory.”

The fantastical premise follows a collection of famous figures from the days of the Wild West. Characters like Doc Holliday and Wild Bill Hickok all find themselves in a town called Refuge. The famous men already died and were sent to the town in place of purgatory. They have to redeem themselves there if they want any chance of getting into heaven.

Then, one day a band of bank robbers fleeing the law comes to town and threatens the peace. The famous gunfighters, including the likes of Donnie Wahlberg’s Billy the Kid, have to decide between taking up arms against the invaders or fighting again and risking eternal damnation.

The movie doesn’t have much critical feedback. But audiences seemed to enjoy it. For example, it’s currently at a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with over 2,500 reviews.

The “Blue Bloods” actor starred in the film along with Sam Roberts, Eric Roberts, Randy Quaid, and Peter Stormare. It featured a star-studded cast for a TV movie. It was good for Wahlberg’s career, however, as the next part he landed was Vincent Gray in the M. Night Shyamalan classic “The Sixth Sense.”

The ‘Blue Bloods’ Star’s Rise to Fame

The Wahlberg brothers need no introduction. Easily overlooked, however, because of their accomplished acting careers is the fact that both got their start in music.

In 1986, “Blue Bloods” star Donnie Wahlberg and his boy band, New Kids on the Block, took the world by storm. They were extremely successful, with seven studio album releases to their name. In 1990, the band released “Step By Step.” The single is still their best-selling song to this day. You can watch the music video below. A young Donnie Wahlberg is featured heavily.

In a 2009 interview with NKOTB News, Donnie talked about what it was like to start his career as part of a boy band.

“The funny thing about being in a boy band is that in the beginning you are desperate to convince everyone you’re not a boy band and that you have talent – but you can’t,” he said. “Only if you last long enough and you’re older, you prove it in other ways that you never thought of. You get respect with hard work and energy, and over time people realize what you have achieved without you telling them.”

If his 11 years on “Blue Bloods” is any indication, Donnie Wahlberg definitely earned the respect he was after.