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Clint Walker is a mean bounty hunter in this early 1970's made for television western. He rides into town to dump his latest capture, and makes the local saloon flies mad in the process. The hangers-on, led by Richard Basehart, decide to get back at Walker for refusing to buy them a drink with his new found wealth. Walker leaves to capture a $5000 reward by getting Billy Riddle, played by John Ericson. He spirits Ericson away from a ghost town/criminal hangout, but also gets some extra baggage in the form of Ericson's girlfriend, Margot Kidder. As Ericson and Kidder speak in whispers and plan their escape, Basehart's gang decides to take Ericson from Walker and claim the reward as their own. Suddenly, a routine bounty for Walker turns into something else as he must deal with enemies on two fronts. Kidder, however, begins to take a liking to Walker, and the trio get pinned down by the gang with no food and water. The final plot twist is a surprise, and helps along an otherwise standard story. Walker bares a resemblance to Tom Selleck, and is just fine here. He is not the nice guy from other films I have seen him in, and his story about what happened to his wife explains the bitterness in his character. Walker should have had a much larger career in westerns than he did. Kidder is very good as Mae, the prostitute who falls for Riddle. Some of her dialogue is a little shrill, but she handles it well and turns in a performance that is smart. Richard Basehart is the creepy head of the gang that rides after Walker. It is almost refreshing to have villains who want one thing, money, and have no past history or old scores to settle with the her The film is a brief seventy four minutes, so any deep meanings and characterization is lost, save Walker and Kidder. This is also the kind of film where the good guy must win, must hit everything he shoots at, and must turn the bad girl good, and all of that is here. A real plus is Moxey's direction, which is neither boring nor fanciful. He shows real nuts and bolts camera moves, not trying to take away from his leads or the action taking place. The title song and musical score are a mess, done by some forgotten pop group called The Orphanage. "The Bounty Man" is a basic western that delivers the goods, and does not want much from its audience in return. It is entertaining and watchable, but I do not think the members of the television academy overlooked it for any awards. I do recommend it, fans of westerns may appreciate it more than others. This is unrated, and contains physical violence, gun violence, and mild profanity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mean and formidable bounty hunter Kinkaid (a suberbly hard-edged portrayal by Clink Walker) nabs likable outlaw Billy Riddle (an engaging performance by John Ericson) in order to collect the substantial reward that's been placed on his head. Kinkaid and Riddle go trekking across a remote desert region. Riddle's naive, but loyal and feisty prostitute girlfriend Mae (a delightfully spirited turn by Margot Kidder) tags along. Complications ensue when the trio runs afoul of a no-count gang of mangy desperadoes lead by the shrewd and fearsome Angus Keough (Richard Basehart in deliciously robust and wicked form). Firmly directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, with a smart, intriguing script by Jim Byrnes, a steady pace, several exciting and well-staged action scenes, crisp cinematography by Ralph Woolsey, well-drawn characters (for example, Kinkaid is really a tragic and lonely figure while Riddle ultimately gets exposed as a sniveling selfish coward), a pleasingly harmonic folksy score by the Orphange, a tough, gritty tone, and a refreshing surprise ending, this film makes for an enjoyable and engrossing sagebrush saga. Moreover, this movie benefits from uniformly fine acting from a tip-top cast: Walker impresses in the lead, Basehart registers strongly as a memorably cunning and nasty villain, Kidder shines in the token female role, plus there's solid support from Arthur Hunnicutt as a grizzled sheriff, Gene Evans as amiable saloon keeper Tom Brady, Rex Holman as the laid-back Driskill, Dennis Cross as the hot-tempered Rufus, and Paul Harper as grubby trader Hargus. A nice little picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a lightweight but enjoyable TV movie..., it seemed weirdly out
of place in a movie collection titled "The Grindhouse Experience"
(which is where I found it). The content is much milder than a typical
Spaghetti Western of the same era - there's nothing here to surprise or
shock a fan of "Have Gun Will Travel" or "Wanted: Dead Or Alive",
except this movie is in color. In fact,you could stick Richard Boone in
here, or the "Paladin" character, and it would essentially be the same
The acting is solid, middle-of-the-road TV movie work that doesn't call attention to itself. Clint Walker is in fine form here; his performance is oddly slick and shallow, but he looks good in the part and it's fun to watch him match wits and snarls with the characters around him. Richard Basehart is, well, Richard Basehart; he could have phoned his performance in, but I have to admit that his part doesn't give him much to work with.
The movie looks decent and the plot covers most of the standard Western plot clichés. It looks like they spent some money on location scouting and costumes and props and good lighting and camera work. But again, this isn't "Dances With Wolves" or "Silverado", it's TV level work. People watched it along with the commercial breaks, said, "Wow, Clint Walker is a good actor" when it was done, and then they watched the next show and forgot about it. I can barely remember the details myself, and I watched it last night. (Unlike "Any Gun Can Play" from the same collection, which I remember vividly as a half-rate rip off and spoof of much better Spaghetti Westerns.) Fine for what it is. Clint Walker obviously had some presence and talent but he couldn't boost this movie to anything special, and an obscure time filler is all it will ever be.
Clint Walker gives a one-dimensional performance (and bad Clint
Eastwood impression) in this disappointing Aaron Spelling produced TV
movie that plays like a quickie subplot from a television episode,
painfully stretched out to feature length.
Walker plays an emotionless bounty hunter who captures an outlaw and drags him across the desert for a date with the hangman, dodging a group of unscrupulous men who want the reward for themselves.
Tagging along is the outlaw's devoted girlfriend (Margot Kidder) who tries her best to distract the bounty man.
Talky and stiff with no suspense, the worthwhile action scenes are few and far in-between and the characters too unlikable to make this worthwhile viewing.
What's all this about "Two rival bounty hunters are after the same
killer, but find they have to join together to fight off his gang"?
I guess someone was watching another film. This one's about an embittered widower who takes up bounty hunting as he searches for the man who ran off with his wife and then deserted her. "The same killer" is a young outlaw who's got it together with a saloon girl who tags along after Clint Walker has snatched him from a rough township. He's got no gang, though there is a bunch of roughnecks who want to relieve Walker of his prisoner.
There are some similarities to "The Ride Back", which treats better the relationship between captor and captive, and to "The Bravados", both of which I prefer. The changes in the relationships between the three members of Walker's party are unconvincing if not unexpected, and the ending is a bit of an anticlimax.
Kinkaid (Clint Walker) is a quiet man of action. Though he says very
little, he's a kick butt bounty hunter...with a reputation for bringing
them back dead as often as alive. He hopes to make a fortune bringing
in Billy Riddle...an outlaw seemingly above the law. But despite his
gang, Kinkaid is able to capture Billy...and his girlfriend, Mae
(Margot Kidder) as well. He didn't want to catch Mae...but seems to
have little choice but bring her along with them. Billy is thrilled to
have Mae...as he plans on using her to try to get to Kinkaid. Slowly,
through the course of the film, her illusions about Billy vanish and
she sees that he's really just a selfish jerk who would sacrifice her
in a heartbeat in order to save his sorry butt.
After he catches Billy and Mae sees what a jerk he is, another problem arises. A trio of scum-bag bounty hunters want Billy as well...and they seem more than willing to kill Kinkaid in order to get Billy.
The casting of Richard Basehart as the leader of the scum-bag bounty hunters is unusual. Basehart usually plays very different character than this one...one who is sort of like an evil Larry and his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl! Walker, on the other hand, is right in his element as he made a lot of western movies and TV programs.
So is it any good? Well, it's fine....but with zillions of other westerns there isn't enough about this one that merit looking for it unless, like me, you're interested in seeing all of the installments of "The ABC Movie of the Week".
The bounty hunter Kincaid (Clint Walker)... Two rival bounty hunters
are after the same killer, but find they have to join together to fight
off his gang.
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, who worked mostly in TV (including a slew of "Magnum PI" episodes.
The Fortune 5 DVD is apparently a VHS transfer, with lots of jumping frames and "snow". When it is clear, the picture is really good, but a decent transfer should not have any snow or jumps, obviously. Besides convenience, this DVD offers no improvements from a worn-out VHS.
Nice "Bounty Man" theme song (from some band called The Orphanage), and even Margot Kidder makes a guest appearance. That is some pretty decent star power for a forgotten, unknown western... not saying it makes the film worth watching, but still it is at least one face you will recognize.
This film had a difficult time holding my interest. It is not nearly as satisfying as the other western in the Grindhouse Experience collection, "Go Kill and Come Back".
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