I'm trying to identify a movie I watched back in the early-to-mid 80's on cable, most likely HBO or Showtime. In the movie, aliens visit a small town. The visit is witnessed by two children - a local boy and a girl whose parents had stopped in the town while on a road-trip.
Years later, the now-grown girl returns to the town and she's a reporter (I think) investigating a weird rash of cattle mutilations in the area. The now-grown boy is the town sheriff or deputy, and is also investigating the mutilations. It turns out that
a local man is behind the mutilations. He was abducted or changed when the aliens visited 25 years ago, and now works for the aliens by cutting up the cattle using a glowing rod of some kind. The rod resembles a lightsaber blade but you can hold it.
Unfortunately, I don't remember the actors involved, but these three main characters were all Caucasian. The main two leads were around 30, with the local man being older. The town was in the Southwest, I believe, with lots of scrub-brush and semi-desert areas around the town.