Due to the lack of men after the Civil War, a small western town allows a bachelorette with ulterior motives to save a horse-thief from the gallows by marrying him. They must deal with his old gang, the sheriff, the bank - and each other.
Tom Logan is a horse thief. Rancher David Braxton has horses, and a daughter, worth stealing. But Braxton has just hired Lee Clayton, an infamous "regulator", to hunt down the horse thieves; one at a time.
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Texas, shortly after the Civil War. Henry Moon is an outlaw, on the run from the law. He is captured trying to escape to Mexico and taken back to town to be hanged. The town has a special law that a condemned man can walk free if one of the single women of the town offer to marry him. Henry is in luck - at the last moment Julia Tate offers to marry him, and pretty soon they are married. However, Henry soon discovers that Julia's motives are purely business-orientated - she needs someone to work the mine on her property. This makes for a very cold marriage. Written by
Going' South is probably most famous as being a film directed by Jack Nicholson. It's a western about an outlaw called Henry Moon who is saved from execution by a sexually repressed woman who owns a gold mine. To his chagrin she immediately sets him to work there, needless to say they don't get along at first but then they do later on.
This is essentially an odd couple film. It plays things consistently for laughs but like the majority of comedy westerns it really isn't too funny. Nicholson may be a great actor but he isn't a very good director. The pacing lags badly in the second half but the story isn't terribly engaging overall. It also stars a host of actors who would go on to become stars in the 80's such as Danny Devito, John Belushi and Christopher Lloyd. But despite the potential that this cast suggests, most have very under-developed roles and it feels suspiciously like Nicholson invited them along just so that he could have a laugh on set. The western itself was in decline by the late 70's in any case and Going' South didn't bring anything new to the table to help change that. It's a film that seems to have a minor cult reputation but I didn't think it was too good and it's certainly one of Nicholson's lesser film outings.
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