"Each man has a song and this is my song." (Leonard Cohen)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Children of the Dust (CBS, 1995)

Sidney as grizzled old gun hand

The other day I was reviewing Duel at Diablo and I said that Diablo and Buck and the Preacher were the only Westerns that Sidney Poitier did – more’s the pity because he was good in them. And that’s true, as far as big-screen oaters went. But, as reader Walter Severs pointed out, Sidney did do a TV Western, a two-part mini-series aired by CBS in 1995. So I duly watched that, and, I must say, I rather enjoyed it.

Mr. Poitier was born in 1927, so he could play the young slick gambler in Duel at Diablo, when he was still under forty, and in Buck and the Preacher he was a youthful 45, but by the time of Children of the Dust he was a more grizzled 58, so he plays a hard-bitten and experienced bounty hunter and gunman, and carries it off rather well. He really should have starred in a movie about Bass Reeves: he would have been excellent in that.

Sidney: very good in Westerns

The show was directed by Englishman David Greene: this and an episode of the TV Shane were the only Westerns he essayed, but he did a solid job. There are some pleasant Alberta, Canada locations nicely shot by Ron Orieux. The picture doesn’t look cheap.

It’s 90s-trendy pro-minorities, but that’s not a criticism of course. We start in Oklahoma, 1880 or so. Army scout and interpreter Gypsy Smith (Poitier) saves the young son of a chief when an accidental shot leads to a wild massacre by the soldiers. He delivers the boy to the care of sympathetic Indian agent Maxwell (strong actor Michael Moriarty, who as a rule avoided Westerns, though he was memorable as the decent and courageous miner in Pale Rider).

Moriarty excellent as decent Indian agent

There the agent’s two children Rachel and Dexter choose a name for the boy on a whim, much as they would do for a new family dog, and the three grow up together. The love between more adult Rachel (Joanna Going) and the Indian (Billy Wirth) is somewhat more than fraternal. The agent’s wife Nora (Farah Fawcett) is breaking under the mental strain of frontier life (echoes of The Homesman) and commits suicide; Rachel sees the hanging corpse.

Farah cracks under the strain

Time passes. Rachel comes back from a posh school in St Louis, a lady. Meanwhile the chief’s son has taken the name White Wolf and returned to his people, and ne’er-do-well Dexter (Jim Caviezel), a petty thief, has become the racist deputy of the bigoted and murderous county sheriff (Kevin McNulty).

Now a lady (though still a spoiled brat)

Cimarron Rose makes a brief appearance, impersonated by Grace Zabriskie. Because of her fling with outlaw Bittercreek Newcomb, of Dalton and Doolin Gang fame, Rose Elizabeth Dunn (1878 -1955) was elevated to the status of Western legend, and all sorts of nonsense was purveyed about her (see, for example, Fox’s 1948 movie Belle Starr's Daughter or their '52 picture Rose of Cimarron). She was in fact Oklahoma born and would have been about, though didn’t get involved with Bittercreek and the boys until about 1893 and wouldn’t yet have been a famed outlaw-ess, as in Children of the Dust. She warns Gypsy that the bad guys are after him, and Gypsy blasts them with a shotgun hidden in his bedroll and thanks Rose before she rides off into history.

Said to be Rose Dunn

Gypsy accepts the job of guiding a wagon train of “colored” settlers up into the territory for the coming land rush. Naturally he falls in lerve with one of the settlers, Drusilla (Regina Taylor). We have the traditional scenes when the starting gun is fired and with the obligatory speeded-up film we see wagons going too fast and crashing and, of course, the compulsory amusing bicycle taking part in the dash. But it’s just token (the budget wasn’t that big) so don't expect scenes such as in Tumbleweeds or Cimarron.

The town of Freedom is set up, near Guthrie, where Rachel now makes the acquaintance of rich (but obviously crooked) Southerner Shelby Hornbeck (Hart Bochner). She is wooed by the wealth and glamor and agrees to marry him though she still secretly loves White Wolf. This will lead to bloodshed and mayhem.

White Wolf loves her but she marries a rich white man

Meanwhile the KKK are active. There are no surprises, though, when the klansmen remove their hoods: all the previously flagged bad guys are there, the county sheriff, his deputy, and of course evil rich man Hornbeck. In fact it is Hornbeck who himself rather explicitly (for a TV movie) castrates our hero. Gypsy goes all moody after that, as indeed who can blame him?

Hornbeck gets his just deserts, though, at the hands of his new wife rather than Gypsy, who, once he has recovered, now hunts down the other klansmen to wreak his vengeance upon them (no blame again). There’s a good bit when Gypsy shoots the sheriff while he is feeding his hogs and leaves him dead with the other swine, but then the man’s wailing wife (now widow) and young son come out and suddenly Gypsy is made to ask himself if he has done the right thing. ‘Course he has. Up at the mansion Rachel uses on her surprised hubby a little pocket pistol very like the one the heroine packs in Louis L’Amour’s Showdown at Yellow Butte and the one Mark Twain had in Roughing It.


Anyway, after this daring and deadly deed White Wolf spirits Rachel away to a cabin, saying, “Nobody knows this place” but he is wrong because everyone who has watched True Grit (i.e. everyone) knows it; it’s just like Lucky Ned Pepper’s shack on the river. And Gypsy Smith knows it too because he goes right there. “Figured you’d come here,” he says. So much for White Wolf’s secret hideout. They set off for Mexico.

Well, there’s action aplenty from thereon in. Dexter, whose worthless life White Wolf has unwisely spared, gets up a posse and they track Gypsy, White Wolf and Rachel down to a cave very like the one Lee Van Cleef hid in till Henry Fonda routed him out of it in The Tin Star. This one is a very fake cave interior on a studio set, though. They are safe there until the posse brings up a cannon. Uh-oh. But Gypsy says it’s “a good day to die” (alternative title for the movie), quoting Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man.

He decides to go out fighting

Well, I enjoyed it.



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Duel at Diablo (UA, 1966)

The other face of Maverick

James Garner (left) was of course best known to 1960s Western lovers as the entertaining Bret Maverick, the hero who thought cowardice was the better part of valor (but not really) in the show which ran on ABC from September 1957 to July 1962 and then all over the world for very many reruns after that. But in fact he also had a parallel career as a tough Western hombre on the big screen, starting as Randolph Scott’s pal in Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend in 1957, being a gritty Wyatt Earp when John Sturges returned to Tombstone in Hour of the Gun, and being A Man called Sledge in 1970, which was a pretty dire spaghetti western but he was a real tough guy in it. Duel at Diablo falls into this mold.

We know that Hollywood loved Duels. Duel in the Sun, The Duel at Silver Creek, Gun Duel in Durango, duels all over the place. This duel was directed by Ralph Nelson (right), who was really a TV guy but who, Westernwise, would later do the difficult-to-watch Soldier Blue and the dire The Wrath of God. He was far from the best director of Westerns, I fear. Having said that, though, I reckon Diablo was his best.

It opens (after a 60s-trendy knife-slash through the United Artists logo) in a violent way with Jim Garner, sweaty and unshaven and therefore tough, gazing down at a man crucified upside down. Jim proceeds to save a woman from some Apaches. There are snazzy titles and equally snazzy music (Neal Hefti) to get us going. It’s all groovy, man.

He brings the woman, Ellen (Bibi Andersson, a Swedish former member of the Royal Opera, a Bergman regular, in her only Western) back to Fort Creel but there she is shunned by her husband Dennis Weaver because she didn’t have the decency to kill herself when she was taken by the Indians but had the temerity to survive. You can tell Weaver’s character (Willard Grange, merchant) is a bad egg because he wears a fancy silk vest and a suit (he looks quite Maverickish in fact) and is unkind to his wife, whereas Jim’s character, Jess Remsberg, has just been kind to his horse so is obviously a goody. Western semiotics at work, dudes. Weaver, who would also star with Garner in Sledge, was almost as well-known as Garner to fans of the TV Western, having been Matt Dillon’s factotum/deputy Chester for so long in Dodge from the late 50s through into the 60s. Anyway, Ellen knows when she’s not wanted and runs off back to the Apaches.

Merchant Weaver asks for Army protection from 'Scottish' Travers

At the fort a decent Army officer, Lt. Scotty McAllister, who wants to be a general one day and is a friend of Jess’s, gives him a scalp. It was taken from Jess’s presumably now former wife, and Jess is determined to get revenge on the villain who took it. Scotty is played by Englishman Bill Travers, in his only Western (fortunately). Mr. Travers’s ‘Scots’ accent is probably even worse than mine would be. Jess is told that the scalp was got from the marshal in Fort Concho, Clay Dean (John Crawford, frequently a heavy in TV Westerns). This Dean is a mean hombre, a hired gun with a star, but we sense that he will meet his match in Jess Remsberg.

We are now introduced to slick gambler Toller, who has also borrowed one of Maverick’s vests, played by Sidney Poitier, surprisingly good on a horse. Sidney only did two Westerns, this one and Buck and the Preacher. Pity: I thought he was rather good in them. Toller is inveigled into going along with the party setting off through Indian country to Fort Concho, along with Scotty, Jess and the evil Grange and his wagonload of goods. And naturally Ellen will join the party, because it wouldn’t be a Hollywood Western otherwise, would it?

Slick Sidney

It’s a Chato story, or Chatto if you prefer, though he is called Chata in the credits and is played by John Hoyt. He has broken out of the San Carlos agency and gone marauding. It was his son who had Ellen as a wife and Chato wants to protect his baby grandson. The real Chato (1854 – 1934) was a Chiricahua sub-chief and protégé of Cochise who carried out several raids on settlers in Arizona in the 1870s. This screen Chato/a is very cruel and the movie has a slight Ulzana’s Raid tinge to it (though is not as good as Ulzana’s Raid) in its dealing with the sufferings inflicted by the Apaches on the whites.


Hoyt in the role (looking a bit old for an Apache in his 20s)

Chata has 45 braves, we are told. A lot more than that are shot down in various battles but he still seems to have 45 more. Similarly, the soldiers are mown down in droves but droves remain.

While resourceful Toller takes command and holds off the Apaches in the canyon, brave Jess manages to get to Fort Concho – though on the way there is soft-focus heat to convey his ordeal. He meets the colonel there (producer/director Nelson in a cameo) and a relief force is prepared. Jess just has time to deal (rather roughly) with the wicked marshal in town and find out who gave him his wife’s scalp. The guilty party is… Yet nay, I shall not reveal this, for Jeff Arnold’s West does not deal in spoilers, as you very well know. Still, you may guess.

Love blooms, natch
Only four years later Nelson would make a purportedly pro-Indian picture in which the US Cavalry are the brutal aggressors but in this one he was still going for the old trope of the cavalry arriving at the last minute to save the few survivors (inc. Sidney & Ellen, obviously), so they duly do, Chato surrenders, and Jess ‘n’ Ellen can live h.e.a., presumably with Chato’s grandson adopted by Jim. Oh, that may have been a spoiler.

It was shot in impressive and arid Utah locations by Charles F Wheeler and visually the picture is strong. Garner and Poitier are good too. But it’s a pretty straight, rather old-fashioned oater for the time, spiced up with modern gore. The racial prejudice theme isn’t properly developed. For example, no mention at all is made of Toller’s skin color and no one calls him anything offensive. I wouldn’t go out of your way to see this at all costs, my dear e-pards, though you could give it a view if you were a Garner fan, as, indeed, who is not? I did consider giving it three revolvers, though in the end wisdom prevailed.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Soldier Blue (Avco-Embassy, 1970)

A hard film to like

I don’t like Soldier Blue as a Western or as a film but there is no denying that it was a landmark picture, even coming as it did from a small studio. It arrived at a time when revisionism was starting to become a flood. Soldier Blue was released in August. Little Big Man in December that same year showed us a raving megalomaniac Custer completely off his rocker, Doc the following year did a hatchet job on Wyatt Earp, portraying him as a corrupt and creepy politician, and the year after that Dirty Little Billy showed Billy the Kid as a sniveling murderous punk - and so on. 1970 was also the year that Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was published and became a best-seller. It was obvious that there would be a movie which turned the heroic US Cavalry, which had been shown in countless cavalry Westerns arriving bravely at the last moment to save the settlers ever since Hollywood began, into a loathsome force of racist barbarians.

And then there was Vietnam. The shock waves of the My Lai massacre in 1968 were still reverberating. American casualties reached a peak in 1969. The Kent State shootings took place the same month that Soldier Blue was released.

So we were given a film showing the US Army brutally massacring decent Native Americans, gleefully slaughtering women and children, raping, mutilating, beheading and heaven knows what else.

In fact at Sand Creek Black kettle was flying the American flag. It didn't save his village.

The event, set in 1877, was fictional but there is an explicit reference to Sand Creek (1864) in a voiceover at the end of the picture and there are also unmentioned similarities to Custer’s attack on the Washita (1868). The repulsive Army commander leading the cavalry is fictional, a Colonel Iverson (John Anderson, not holding back) but there are definite echoes of the even more repellent Reverend Colonel Chivington of Sand Creek and of Custer himself.

The film became a cause célèbre for its final shocking scenes, though there was an unpleasant element of exploitative Hollywood gore – Peckinpah without the talent. Brian Garfield in his guide Western Films wrote that the slaughter was “depicted with lip-licking, drooling, voyeuristic explicitness; the film is typically a Joseph E Levine production – expensive and tasteless.”


In reality, though, those final scenes only come after a long, even meandering story of just two people, the only escapees from a Cheyenne attack on an Army patrol, trying to get back to the safety of an Army fort. At very nearly two hours it was too long. The plot wasn’t strong enough to take it, though this tends to be forgotten when the massacre scenes arrive.

The two survivors are not a vulnerable woman and a tough man-who-knows-Indians, as in the classic Western tradition, but the reverse. The star is Candice Bergen as Cresta Lee, a white woman (and her extreme blondness heightens the whiteness) who has been living with the Cheyenne, as one of the wives of their leader Spotted Wolf (Jorge Rivero). She is canny, shrewd and resourceful – and stridently pro-Indian. Her companion is a weepy and largely incompetent young trooper, Honus Gant, played by Peter Strauss, bungling and bumbling across the prairie but gradually learning from the tough woman. Ms. Bergen, pre-Carnal Knowledge and better known at the time for less-than-great campus comedy, was actually quite strong as the foul-mouthed ‘lady’, though the script and her approach were far more 1970s than 1870s. Mr. Strauss was pretty much an unknown and isn’t too bad as the totally bewildered soldier almost unable to cope, though you do sometimes want to shake him.

Bergen and Strauss

There’s a slight Rooster Cogburn/Two Mules for Sister Sara vibe as the man is accompanied through the hardships of the West by an apparently unsuited woman who turns out, though, to be competent, but as I said, really this is turned on its head and it’s the woman who leads and the man who eventually shows a bit of ability under the tutelage of his companion.

And unlike those other Westerns, Ms. Bergen’s dress gets skimpier and skimpier as the film progresses. There is almost a soft-porn look to the movie.

Her dress gets smaller and smaller

The picture was directed by Ralph Nelson, better known for his TV work. He only did three big-screen Westerns, this one, the dire The Wrath of God in 1972 and Duel at Diablo (1966), the latter the best. Considering the slow pace of most of Soldier Blue and the rather heavy-handed message, I don’t think we can put Mr. Nelson up on the Mount Parnassus of Western directors (probably somewhere up in the Rockies).

Ralph Nelson

The film is marred by another dreadful performance by Donald Pleasence as Isaac Q Cumber, a seller of guns to the Indians (in Westerns a crime situated on the scale of awfulness somewhere between matricide and cannibalism). Pleasence would insist on doing Westerns, for which he was entirely unsuited, and came close to ruining several with his overacting, such as The Hallelujah Trail (not that he ruined that one because it was already so bad as to be past saving) and Will Penny – a fine Western in which he was abysmal. Brian Garfield, again, talked of “Pleasence, whose mugging performance brings new significance to the word ‘ham’.” Dramatically, too, it’s odd because this Cumber pursues the couple with intent to kill but suddenly gives up the chase and rides away never to be seen again.

A dreadful ham

Another weakness of Soldier Blue is summed up by Roger Ebert, in his review of the time: 

Although it is pro-Indian, [Soldier Blue] is also white chauvinist. Like "A Man Called Horse," another so-called pro-Indian film, it doesn't have the courage to be about real Indians. The hero in these films somehow has a way of turning out to be white In "A Man Called Horse," Richard Harris was your average English aristocrat, but damned if he couldn't out-hunt, out-fight, out-shoot and out-lead all those Sioux, who made him their chief out of pure gratitude. And now in "Soldier Blue," Candice Bergen is the white girl from New York who "understands" Indians and makes liberal speeches and goes back to warn the tribe when the Cavalry is coming. Nobody who looks authentically Indian gets very close to the camera.

The only exception to that might be Spotted Wolf. But he was played by a Mexican.
Rivero is Spotted Wolf

You probably need to see Soldier Blue, once, if you are at all a keen Westernista. But it’s a hard film to like.




Friday, March 2, 2018

The Oklahoma Kid (Warner Bros, 1939)

Gangsters on the prairie

I have waffled on elsewhere (here, in fact, and here) about the Western and the gangster movie – their similarities and differences. Certain gangster flicks were virtually Westerns (ever seen Last Man Standing?) and certain Westerns were pretty well gangster movies – all those many oaters, and The Oklahoma Kid is one, in which a crooked saloon owner with henchmen has treed the town. On the printed page there were writers who were masters of both: one thinks of Elmore Leonard and Robert B Parker. You could say of the two genres that they both deal in lead, friend.

But it is also true that as a general rule actors who made it big in crime noirs rarely made the transformation into successful Western stars. You would think they would: both genres are American-hard-boiled. But they didn’t. Edward G Robinson, for example, was Secretary of the Interior Schurz in John Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn, but of course he was playing an Eastern politician there. He was OK in his role as rich rancher husband of Barbara Stanwyck in The Violent Men, but he only did a handful of Westerns, one was a cameo in the gargantuan dud Mackenna's Gold and two of them, Barbary Coast and The Outrage, can only be defined as Westerns by a stretch. In Barbary Coast he was, yup, a gangster. Humphrey Bogart did the splendid The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, of course, and if you count that a Western, well, he was superb, but he only did two ‘real’ Westerns, Virginia City and The Oklahoma Kid, and was utterly unconvincing in Virginia City, while he was only just about bearable in The Oklahoma Kid because he played – yes – a gangster. And as for James Cagney, he only did three, Tribute to a Bad Man, Run for Cover and The Oklahoma Kid, and his build and his quick-fire “dirty rat” Eastern diction didn’t help at all on the prairie. No, I fear they should all probably have stuck to their tuxedos, speakeasies and Chicago typewriters.

I think he felt obliged to do that

Cagney (billed above the title) and Bogart (billed afterwards under ‘With’) were of course at the height of their fame in the late 30s. Angels with Dirty Faces came out in 1938 and The Roaring Twenties in ’39. Warners probably thought they were onto a winner by giving Jimmy and Bogie Colt sixguns and Stetsons.

Bogie is a gangster

And of course in 1939 A-Westerns were all the rage again. Fox had started the ball rolling with its big, colorful Jesse James, with Tyrone Power in the lead, and once more there were lines round the block as theater-goers waited to get in to a Western. Universal put James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again, United Artists released John Ford’s Stagecoach with John Wayne, Paramount had Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck nation-building in Union Pacific, and Warners themselves released the brash, noisy Michael Curtiz-directed Dodge City in Technicolor with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland. But the Cagney/Bogart oater was nothing like that.

The studio certainly didn’t stint, it’s not that: although it’s in black & white, it was shot by the great James Wong Howe, a real artist. They had old Oklahoma outlaw Al Jennings on the set as technical adviser. And there was grandiloquent Max Steiner score.

But it’s still pretty bad. Warners got Lloyd Bacon (left) to direct. Bacon did direct some big Warner hits such as 42nd Street and Footlight Parade but he was so overshadowed by Busby Berkeley in those that no one really noticed him. After a career in silent movies as an actor (he was often the heavy in Broncho Billy oaters) he joined Warners in 1925. His ability to bring in a film on time and on budget earned him respect from the five Warner brothers and he was rewarded by becoming the highest paid director on the lot, earning over $200,000 a year throughout the Depression. Westernwise, though, his career was decidedly unstellar. He had directed a sort-of Western in 1938, The Cowboy from Brooklyn, with Dick Powell (another noir actor who didn’t really make the transition) and the clunky The Oklahoma Kid was his second. He’d been an assistant to Ford on My Darling Clementine but doesn’t seem to have learned much and he would later make the turgid The Great Sioux Uprising. I’m afraid that he just didn’t seem to ‘get’ Westerns at all.

The screenplay (many were credited but it was mostly by Robert Buckner, who worked on some iffy Errol Flynn Westerns too) was weak and amateurish. Variety commented that the picture had “all the unbelievable hoke of a small-time Western”, and they were not far wrong. The movie has its admirers – mostly among Cagney and Bogart fans – but I’m not one of them.

Of course it has its moments. It isn’t all bad. For one thing, Bogart whips out a derringer (just as he had in Virginia City) to shoot a good guy (who had to die because his gal had fallen for Cagney). Any Western in which a crooked saloon boss uses a derringer goes up in my estimation. And there are all manner of character actors, our old friends, to spot and enjoy: Ward Bond is a henchman, and leader of the lynch mob. Trevor Bardette’s there, as another henchman, Indian Joe, John Miljan is Ringo and Edward Pawley is Doolin. Irving Bacon is the hotel clerk. And guess what? Earl Dwire the Great is the relay station man (tragically uncredited).

Ward Bond rudely interrupts Jimmy's song. Just as well, though.

It’s a Cherokee Strip land-rush story. It starts with President Cleveland (Stuart Holmes) acceding to Congress’s request to open up Indian Territory to “American” (i.e. white) settlers, and there follows the usual hokum about boomers and sooners (Bogart is, naturally, one of the latter). The actual mad dash when the starting gun is fired isn’t made quite so much of as was usual in such movies. The scenes are rather perfunctory and there wasn’t even the usual penny-farthing bicycle that always featured. It could be that the footage was lifted from elsewhere. Much of it is speeded-up film, to make the wagons go faster, and some of the characters ‘ride’ those dreadful fake horses in front of back-projection screens that bad Westerns often used.

A father-and-son team of visionary pioneers, John and Ned Kincaid (Hugh Sothern and Harry Stephens) – the dad looking rather like Neville Chamberlain - want to stake out and build a new town, the settlement which will become Tulsa. Crooked Whip McCord (Bogart), dressed all in black so we won’t mistake him for a goody (as if), beats them to the site by leaving the night before and does a deal: the Kincaids can build their town but he, McCord, will run all the saloons and other venues catering to various vices. So Tulsa becomes not a respectable burg but a wide-open den of iniquity.

Really bad poster

Now, there’s a free-spirited young fellow know n as the Oklahoma Kid (Cagney) who has a rather cavalier attitude to such things as law and propriety. In fact he spots McCord and his henchmen robbing the stage and cleverly robs the robbers, appropriating to himself the silver which was supposed to have gone to the Indians to compensate them for their land. Later, it will turn out that this robbin' hood is not just a wandering outlaw but in fact… Yet nay, I cannot tell you, for Jeff Arnold does not deal in spoilers (hem hem).

At 40, Jimmy was a tad aged to be taking ‘Kid’ parts but never mind, he’s charming and has a winning smile. He also has a song, at the piano, in a rather thin 1930s-ish tenor. Frank Nugent in The New York Times of the day wrote, “Mr. Cagney doesn't urge you to believe him for a second; he's just enjoying himself; and, if you want to trail along, so much the better for you.”

Donald Crisp is the righteous judge. I never took to Mr. Crisp in Westerns – too posh and too Eastern - though he was just about OK as a judge or other senior figure. He had in fact appeared in and/or directed some early silent Westerns between 1911 and ’18 but this was his first ‘modern’ one. He was very unconvincing as the tough lawman in Ramrod in 1947, I thought. He was OK as a rich rancher, which he was in The Man from Laramie, Saddle the Wind, and Whispering Smith (a crooked one there) and he was a judge again in Drango. John Ford liked him a lot as an actor, though not in Westerns – rightly.

Judge Crisp looks a bit sternly at the Kid

He has a glam daughter, natch, as judges in the West were wont to do. She is Jane (Rosemary Lane, one of the singing Lane sisters, who had worked with Busby B.) who is the intended of the Kincaid boy. But the Oklahoma Kid takes a shine to her. Which fellow will she go for? Well, as Kincaid Jr. is felled by Bogie’s derringer, there are few prizes for guessing, excuse the spoiler. And Kincaid Sr. doesn’t end well, either, for he is the object of the Ward Bond-led lynch mob, though the actual hanging is discreetly not shown (they didn’t want to frighten the horses), only reaction shots as the goody characters look on, appalled.

It’s quite good at the end as the Kid takes what little law there is around there into his own hands and one by one eliminates the gang of ne’er-do-wells.

Oh well, I have seen worse. But I’ve seen a lot better too.