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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Landscape key to ‘Buffalo Dreams’

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

While not without some earnest sermonizing, the Disney Channel kids’ movie “Buffalo Dreams” (8 p.m., Disney) combines a nice little story with gorgeous scenery of the American West. It reminds me of the Disney films of my ever-receding youth.

Movies on Walt Disney’s “The Wonderful World of Color” were unencumbered by politically correct messages. Their mission was clear: Make kids beg their parents to buy a color television, and popularize the notion of vacations in America’s national parks and other scenic locales.

Parents may start planning a trip to Navajo country after watching “Buffalo Dreams” with their kids.

Reiley McClendon stars as Josh, a young teen transplanted to the Southwest after his scientist dad (George Newbern) is transferred to a new research facility. The bored Josh finds rewarding work at the Buffalo reserve on nearby Navajo land.

There he makes an uneasy friendship with Thomas Blackhorse (Simon R. Baker), a Native American teen caught between his ambitious dreams and his elders’ desires that he learn the tribal traditions.

Josh has conflicts of his own. An avid biker, he’d like to hang out with the local mountain-biking clique, but they happen to be troublemakers who make a point of riding on forbidden grasslands and desecrating sacred Navajo sites.

Josh’s problems may not hold you for the full 90 minutes, but the lovely desert country probably will.

Proof that reality TV techniques are destroying the informational aspects of once-reliable cable networks can be found on “Take It Off” (10 p.m., Food Network). I like to cook, and I don’t want my intelligence insulted or my time wasted.

Food Network pro Sara Moulton clearly comes from the Julia Child school of instructional television; I watch her to learn new ideas and techniques in the kitchen. She doesn’t bore me with her private life.

In “Take It Off,” chef and host Juan-Carlos Cruz offers recipes and ideas for food fanatics who want to cut calories without denying themselves a fine-dining experience. And Juan-Carlos ought to know; he lost more than 100 pounds.

But to get to his recipes, you have to wade through the personal stories of two twins (named, oddly enough, Monika and Veronika), as well as one of their husbands, as they embark on a personal “journey” to thinness. We hear about their childhoods and their offices and endure their video “diaries,” among other time-wasting contrivances.

Come on, Food Network! We just want the darn recipes! If we want to watch “The Real World,” we know where to find MTV.

Sarah Hughes hosts “Smucker’s Stars on Ice” (9 p.m., A&E) featuring her fellow former Olympians, including Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, the Canadian pair at the center of a 2002 judging controversy.

Other highlights

Scheduled on “Dateline” (8 p.m., NBC): new details emerge from the Madrid train station bombing.

On back-to-back episodes of “Bernie Mac” (Fox), Jordan’s love life blossoms (8 p.m.), and shopping club shenanigans (8:30 p.m.).

The murder of two teens may be linked to a counterfeit ring on “Numb3rs” (10 p.m., CBS).

Kibre prosecutes the vigilante killer of a child molester on “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” (10 p.m., NBC).

Desperate for fuel, the humans make a daring raid on “Battlestar Galactica” (10:30 p.m., Sci Fi).

Cult choice

A sailor (James Caan) on leave falls for a call girl (Marsha Mason) in the gritty 1973 romance “Cinderella Liberty” (7 p.m., Fox Movie Channel).

Series notes

Spontaneous combustion on “NCIS” (8 p.m., CBS) … On back-to-back episodes of “8 Simple Rules” (ABC), unexpected changes (8 p.m.), and Cate’s new job irks the girls (8:30 p.m.) … Archer and crew take on Nazis on “Star Trek: Enterprise” (8 p.m., UPN) … On back-to-back episodes of “What I Like About You” (WB), Holly throws cold water on Val’s big day (8 p.m.), but the celebration continues (8:30 p.m.).

A heated clash at a legal conference “JAG” (9 p.m., CBS) … An amateur prostitute does not survive long on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (9 p.m., NBC) … Jonny teams up with a bounty hunter (Peta Wilson) on “Jonny Zero” (9 p.m., Fox) … Manning the phones on “Hope & Faith” (9 p.m., ABC) … Trya Banks hosts “America’s Next Top Model” (9 p.m., UPN) … Van’s career crumbles on “Reba” (9 p.m., WB) … Joan Rivers guest-stars on “Less Than Perfect” (9:30 p.m., ABC) … Drew Carey guest-stars on “Blue Collar TV” (9:30 p.m., WB).

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