Deadwood '76 is a 1965 low budget western equivalent of the typical 1970s martial arts film. Redolent with cliché from start to finish, this well-written, well-directed (by James Landis), and mostly badly acted film follows the adventures of a young many (Arch Hall Jr) who has been mistaken for Billy the Kid because of his youth, name (Billy May) and gunfighting talent.
May is an interesting character who is, unfortunately, uninterestingly portrayed by the son of the screenwriter. In a typical early '70s western flourish, May befriends a band of local Native Americans who have been displaced and otherwise abused by the townfolk and who are plotting vengeance against the union army. He also becomes a would-be prospector, and has a number of bad run-ins with a local gang lead by Sam Bass. May, the ultimate outsider, eventually gets swept up in the degrading local society and its circus-of-death atmosphere, and his developing young life is gravely threatened.
Recommended for die-hard Western fans. Not recommended for others.
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