After the Dalton brothers are killed off by lawmen, their female relatives take up where they left off, but armed with more dangerous weapons. The embark on a series of stagecoach robberies, bank hold-ups and picking up loose change here and there. The girls are Holly (Merry Anders,, the oldest and gang-leader; Rose Lisa Davis),, a cold-blooded killer; Columbine (Penny Edwards), who mostly wants out; and Marigold ('Sue George'), who mostly holds the horses. A gambler, W. T. "Illinois" Grey (John Russell), is on hand to bind Columbine's wounds. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Like Howard Hughes' "The Outlaw" (1943), "The Dalton Girls" (1957) was a mixed genre film; a standard "B" western with very deliberate exploitation elements. Although both films attempted a tie-in to real western history, "The Dalton Girls" wisely soft-peddled this element; the only connection being that the four girls were sisters of the guys who started the Dalton Gang.
Although almost any "B" western fan will enjoy the film, it is a must see for those who get off on cowgirls in tight jeans and gun belts. That was the film's drawing card at the time of its release and even today it doesn't get any better than Merry Anders, Lisa Davis, and Penny Edwards robbing stagecoaches and banks. Edwards is my all-time favorite cowgirl and does all the difficult riding stunts in the film. There is even a scene where she hogties a teenage boy.
The film also features John Russell (who would soon star in his own television show, "Lawman") as an early anti-hero. He is an interesting mix of Richard Boone's "Paladin" character (tough but philosophical) and Bret Maverick (a calculating realist of a gambler). Sam Rolfe may have seen this film in pre-release and incorporated some of Russell's traits into the "Paladin" character he was creating. Oddly, the character's name is W.T. (Illinois) Grey but he claims New Orleans as his hometown.
"The Dalton Girl's" moves along nicely and then kind of clunks to a stop with an extremely lame and rushed ending.
The screenwriter (Maurice Tombragel) obviously had a lot of fun with this adaptation, and the story operates on two levels. There are some nice self-parody elements inserted throughout the story. The best is a scene where Lisa Davis is singing about how having a gun is better than having a man:
"Oh you can't trust a man, because a man will lie. But a gun stays beside you, until the day that you die. Oh a man is a cheater, with his trifling ways. But a gun's always faithful, because a gun never strays. Oh a man is unfaithful, he will lead you to strife. But a gun is my true love, yes a gun is my life".
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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