Dracula goes to the Old West and while riding on a stage learns that one of the passengers is on her way to meet her daughter at her ranch. Accompanying her is her brother who hasn't seen her daughter. Dracula the arranges for some Indians to attack the stage coach and kill everybody. He then assumes her brother's identity and plots to make her daughter his mate. When he shows up he meets the girl who introduces him to her fiancé, William Bonney aka billy the kid, who has reformed. When a European family who had earlier encountered Dracula decides to protect the girl and warns Billy of the danger. Billy then wonders if the man is her uncle. And it doesn't help that no one believes him and the ranch's former foreman is doing what he can to discredit Billy. Written by
John Carradine said this was the worst movie he ever made. It may have also been his worst performance as Dracula, a role he had assumed more than than any other character he portrayed in his illustrious career (at least six times in films and twice on TV, according to his IMDb filmography.) That being said,it's still not half bad as a B western-horror movie. It may be odd to see a vampire in the old West, but maybe he was looking for Frankenstein's daughter to help her take on Jesse James, the movie which veteran director William Beaudine released just before this one (JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER.) Ironically, this was the last film Beaudine made in a career that lasted from the silent films he made four decades before with Mary Pickford, to a series of Bowery Boys flicks, then on to a string of memorable TV shows like SPIN AND MARTY, RIN TIN TIN and LASSIE. Although Beaudine's cinematic career might have ended here,he kept working, shooting more LASSIE episodes, a DISNEYLAND episode called "Ten who Dared" about Major Powell's epic boat journey through the Grand Canyon and a couple of GREEN HORNET episodes, which were packaged with other programs into two Green Hornet films, a much better ending to his career than his silly film about two legendary killers. The film is just getting started when the story takes an ironic turn. The vampire has boarded a stagecoach at night where he meets a whiskey drummer, just as Carradine's gambler character had done in the classic STAGECOACH film he made with John Wayne. After he kills an Indian girl at a rest stop, her tribe takes off after the stage, in the director's homage to his colleague John Ford's masterpiece. There's not a lot more to recommend for this film. Billy only has one gun fight and two fist fights before the inevitable final showdown between the title protagonists. Dracula faces little resistance except from the immigrant mother of his second victim, who has a hard time convincing anyone a killer is going around biting helpless women and sheep to death. Some memorable TV character actors are seen here, such as Kurt Russell's dad Bing, who played Sheriff Coffee's deputy on BONANZA,Roy Barcroft from SPIN AND MARTY and the aforementioned Folgers Coffee lady.When all is said and done, the film does a fair job of telling what might happen if these two legendary figures from history and literature had met. Sure, the vampire may appear in daylight and the means chosen for dispatching him is something other than a wooden stake, and Billy the Kid would be the last cowboy to give up gunslinging glory to become a sheep puncher for anyone, but this is a Hollywood film after all, so don't expect much accuracy in either historical or literary rendering. Beaudine was never in a class with other great directors of his time, but there were few that lasted in Hollywood for over half a century as he did. Producers liked his way of shooting within a budget and audiences liked the stories he told on film, so his films usually made money and his movies and TV shows were seldom boring to watch. This flick may not have been his or Carradine's best works, but it's a good opportunity to see the efforts of such screen legends as these two at work together, along with some familiar faces from the small screen. Dale Roloff
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