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"Colt .45" Amnesty (1959)

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Robert Conrad As Billy the Kid!!!

8/10
Author: zardoz-13 from United States
4 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before he starred in his own western series "The Wild, Wild West," Robert Conrad played the infamous, left-handed gunslinger Billy the Kid in the "Colt .45" episode "Amnety." Earlier, Conrad had guest starred in "Bat Masterson," "Maverick," and "Lawman." This was Conrad's seventh acting assignment. He plays Billy as an unsavory, sharpshooting renegade who has never settled down. In later years, Conrad would occasionally play villains, and he makes a first-rate bad guy. He has a five 0'clock shadow, and he decked out from head to toe in a black outfit with a white vest to emphasize his villainy. Check out those Elvis sideburns that Conrad sports during this episode.

Governor Lew Wallace (Willis Bouchey of "The Big Heat") wants to give Billy the Kid (Robert Conrad of "Hawaiian Eye") a pardon. Wallace and Christopher Colt witnessed an outburst of rage by Sheriff Pat Garrett (Wayne Heffley of "King Kong") about granting Billy amnesty. The governor has contacted the notorious outlaw and has promised to send an emissary, Christopher Colt (Wayde Preston), but a suspicious Garrett trails Colt to Billy the Kid's hide out. Billy orders Turk (Dan Gordon of "Bullitt") to take Colt and Garrett alive. One of Billy's henchmen leaps out of nowhere and topples Colt from his horse as he is riding past the man's hidden position. A brief fistfight ensues, and Colt quickly subdues him. Unfortunately, Turk slips up behind him and gets the drop on him. Later, concealed assailants get the drop on Garrett. The next time we see Garrett and Colt, they are tied up and being led at the end of ropes. "Garrett, you ought to be horsewhipped," an irate Colt tells him as they trudge along the trail side-by-side with Billy's gunmen riding ahead and behind them. "Why?" Garrett demands defensively, "Because I wanted to stop Billy's killing instead of handing him a pardon?" Colt quizzes the sheriff with an incredulous edge to his question, "Did you think you could find their camp and come in with a posse?" "I've been trailing them for months," Garrett retorts, "it was worth a gamble." "Not when my neck's at stake," Colt observes. Later, after they arrive at Billy's camp, Colt tells Garrett to shut up.

Colt tells Billy that Governor Wallace has granted him amnesty. Naturally, Billy finds the amnesty offer a little dubious. "Mister, you talk like a man with his hat on backwards," Billy says. "What have you got waiting for me when I stick my neck out of these hills with your pardon? Twenty men ready to gun me down?" Turk urges Billy to kill them on the spot. Colt wants to know why Billy and Garrett, who were friends once, split up. As it turns out, there is a woman in the middle of the melodrama. Garrett isn't happy when he finds Nita (Barbara Darrow of "Tall Story") at Billy's camp. Colt suspects that the two men split over Nita. Colt compliments Nita after she gives him a sip of java, "That tastes good, m'am, you brew a mighty good pot of coffee." Colt suggests that she would manage better off if she had a kitchen of her own. Nita grows suspicious of Colt. "I've never seen a woman yet who likes to live like a fugitive," Colt points out. "This is Billy's last chance to start over again," Colt informs Nita. "You're the only one who can convince him." Nita doubts her persuasive qualities. "I don't think talking would help," she dismisses the proposition. Nevertheless, Colt insists that she can prove it by taking the pardon signed by the governor that he carries inside his shirt. Garrett doesn't believe that Colt stands a chance with Nita.

"Wasted effort," Garrett states, "Nobody can get through to the Kid, not even a woman." Colt remains optimistic, "That pardon is not only his last chance but ours, too." When Nita shows the pardon to Billy, the notorious outlaw refuses to believe it. "I don't have to be burnt twice before I jump." During their conversation, we learn that Nita once loved Garrett, but she is now devoted to Billy. "Then it will make no difference to you when we kill him in the morning," he grins at the prospect of a dawn execution. Billy tears up the pardon. Later, the following morning, when they learn that Wallace is coming with an army of men, Billy waits to kill Garrett and Colt. "You know, Billy, I heard you killed unarmed men, but I didn't believe it," Colt pulls no punches, "But you're no better than any common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill saddle tramp with an itchy finger. You haven't got the backbone to stand up for a fair fight."

Billy rises to Colt's challenge. "There isn't a man I'm afraid to fight." Billy orders Turk to release both Garrett and Colt. Billy leaves one bullet in Colt's six-shooter before he hands it to him. Billy draws on Colt and Colt shoots the six-gun out of the Kid's hand. An incredulous Billy asks, "Why didn't you kill me? You had your chance." Colt explains that if he had shot and killed Billy that Turk would have shot him. "And I ain't about to disappoint you," Turk whips out his iron, but Billy kills him with one shot. Billy still refuses to take advantage of the governor's pardon. "It couldn't work. Too many people after my hide." Billy turns Colt and Garrett loose, but warns them that they will have to pass the gauntlet of his gunmen. They set out in a wagon with a single horse and Colt driving it like a chariot in a sensational finale as Billy's men blast away at them. Later, Wallace gives Colt his novel Ben Hur. Future "Terminal Island" scenarist James Barnett and "Colt .45" scribe Jack Emanuel wrote the story for "Amnesty," while "Blueprint for Robbery" scripters Irwin Winehouse and A. Sanford Wolfe penned the teleplay.

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