Retired marshal Will Spence and his wife live in Coffeyville, Kansas. They hope to live a quiet life, in anonymity. Will has too many enemies from his old days as a lawman. Some of them are still looking for him to exact revenge for one thing or another. The ex-marshal anonymity is blown when the Dalton gang comes snooping in town. Through the barkeep the Daltons find out that Will Spence lives in town. They plan a double whammy event: a bank robbery and the murder of the ex-marshal. The head of the gang hires two killers to find and kill Spence. With him out of the way, the bank robbing part would be easy, since the town sheriff is an old man. However, Spence still has the gun-fighting skills of his youth and manages to kill the two hit-men. Guessing the gang's intentions, Spence tries to organize the townsfolk into a viable defense force but the leading citizens of the town council are skeptical about a possible attack, since the Daltons grew up in the region. Believing Spence ...Written by
In the 1960s, A.C. Lyles created a niche for himself in Hollywood. He produced a lot of low-budgeted westerns starring various stars after they had long since peaked. Often, these stars were pretty old in the films and I've heard the term 'geezer westerns' used to describe his pictures.
"The Last Day" is one of Lyles' later films and like other Lyles films, it's helmed by an older star a bit past his prime, Richard Widmark. The story is pretty typical of many westerns, with the script fictionalizing true events and people. In this case, it's about the final robberies of the infamous Dalton Gang...both which were attempted at the same day and which ended badly for the gang. Widmark plays Will Spence, a character which appears to be fictional. As for the gang, it's made up of the likes of Robert Conrad, Richard Jaekel, Tim Matheson, Tom Skerritt and Christopher Connelly and a few other familiar faces are in the film as well (such as Barbara Rush, Gene Evans and Loretta Switt).
The film is okay...neither great nor terrible. The film was closer to the truth than many other similar films...but took lots of liberties despite its documentary style. The film is narrated by Harry Morgan. Also, when a person is shot, they do NOT go flying backwards...that's a TV/movie myth...that is unless they are hit by something like a cannonball! Also, I found it strange that every time a townsperson shot one of the gang, they ALWAYS just stood there waiting for the other gang members to kill them in retaliation!!
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