Well, it’s Frontierado Eve! We’ve all got our painted rocks on various bits of furniture around the house, we’ve all got our potted cacti with the toy gun-belts slung over them and for those old enough to drink there are Cactus Jacks and Deuces Wilds to be slammed down. In some homes families and friends will be gathering around to watch the official Frontierado Western, Silverado, later tonight. Others prefer to watch that movie on the day or night of Frontierado itself.
In the buildup to this major holiday I periodically reviewed my favorite weird westerns so to give us all a few more chuckles here’s one more.
JESSE JAMES’ KID (1966)
In my review of The Price of Power earlier this Frontierado season I mentioned how fond I am of those Spaghetti Westerns that distort the facts of the American west more outrageously than even our own home- grown westerns do. Jesse James’ Kid makes The Price of Power look like the writings of Herodotus.
In this deranged western which used to populate the 3am to 5am movie slot on television stations across the country we get the old-school bad movie fun of dubbing that never comes close to matching the movements of the performers’ lips. And that’s just the start. This film tells us that Billy the Kid was Jesse James’ son … yes, Jesse James’ son. And not only that but young Billy witnesses his “father’s” fatal shooting, which in this movie is not done by Robert Ford, but by Bat Freaking Masterson!!!
Billy grows up and in the usual western way wants revenge on the man who killed his father. In real life Billy the Kid was a rustler, but in this film he plays a hired gun helping a female rancher whose horses are being rustled away. The head of the horse-stealing ring is a rival rancher, none other than Bat Masterson himself! In this parallel universe version of the Lincoln County War the hostilities are between Masterson’s ranch and the spread where the Kid works. (Called The Double Horse Ranch, which sounds like a dirty joke)
After lots of shooting between the ranch-hands of each warring faction (with Billy getting large slices of the action) the Kid and Bat have their showdown. In this joyously deranged scene Billy avenges his father Jesse’s death by pumping FOURTEEN bullets (you can count ’em) into Bat’s body … from one six-gun … without reloading. The really cheap and rushed dubbing job done by the stateside distributor of this Italian oater presents some ancillary characters being addressed and referred to as Judge Roy Bean, Pat Garrett and “Mr Clanton”, but whether that is the fault of the filmmakers or the people who dubbed this baby into English I can’t say. Not for all tastes, but a fun bad movie.