Billy the Kid becomes embroiled in Lincoln County, NM, land wars. When rancher who gave him a break is killed by rival henchman, Billy vows revenge. New employer takes advantage of his ...
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Jim Harvey is hired to guard a small wagon train as it makes its way west. The train is attacked by Indians and Harvey, hoping to persuade Aguila, the chief, to call off the attack due to ... See full summary »
Billy the Kid becomes embroiled in Lincoln County, NM, land wars. When rancher who gave him a break is killed by rival henchman, Billy vows revenge. New employer takes advantage of his naivety to kill rivals, lets the Kid take rap. Kid takes to the hills with friends until caught. Escapes hanging but remains in area to be near employer's young wife with whom he's infatuated. Written by
Rita Richardson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Suppose I told you there were half a dozen warrants out for his arrest right now. One for killing a man out of Silver City, Colorado, eight years ago with a knife. Another for killing four Chiricahua Indians.
Eight years ago? Well, that's ridiculous. The boy couldn't have been more than twelve years old!
You don't judge a rattlesnake by his age. He's a rattler whether he's got one rattle or a dozen.
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Had I been born a couple of decades earlier my boyhood crush might have been Errol Flynn but growing up when I did it was always Audie Murphy, that baby-faced non-actor who just happened to be the most decorated soldier of World War 11. (He turned his experiences into a memoir entitled "To Hell and Back" which was filmed in 1957 with Audie playing himself; as a child I must have seen this film countless times). Of course, being the most decorated soldier of World War 11 in itself is no guarantee of or justification for a career in the movies so what did Audie have that enticed producers to hire him? To my childish mind it was the idea of this innocent, fresh-faced kid whose very demeanor radiated gentleness being able to handle himself in a scrap, of not being afraid to stand up to the bad guys. I doubt if it was this that John Huston saw when he cast him as the young soldier in "The Red Badge of Courage". Perhaps Huston thought Murphy still looked young enough to pass himself off as a bewildered boy.
That he couldn't act was irrelevant and perhaps because of that it was in a series of second-rate westerns he was usually cast. (There were exceptions; he seemed ideally blank and with just the right degree of annoying priggishness for the title role in "The Quiet American"). In "The Kid from Texas" someone had the bright idea of casting Audie as Billy the Kid, not as villain but as a poor-little-put-upon-me misunderstood youngster. It was an early film in his career and was probably even more of a non-performance than the ones which followed it, (just talking seems like an unnatural act to him). As for the film, it's a lame little Z-Western, brightly coloured and full of corn; Saturday matinée fare of the kind that would have given me a buzz half a century ago, simple and strangely innocent and light years away from the tortured psychology of Paul Newman and Arthur Penn's "The Left Handed Gun".
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