Anthony Steffen in A Stranger in Paso Bravo (1968)

Dancing Around the Past

Gary Hamilton (Anthony Steffen) arrives in Paso Bravo and immediately finds himself coming to the attention of the locals as not only does he not wear any guns but he doesn't drink either. But this isn't the first time Gary had been in town as years earlier his wife and child died in a ranch fire there, a death which lead to his incarceration. But not only does Gary discover that no one remembers him but the town is now run by Acombar (Eduardo Fajardo) who allows his gunmen to cause havoc in town when ever they like. But whilst many think Gary is easy prey for being bullied no one realise he has returned on a mission to clear his name and get revenge.

On that imaginary list of what a spaghetti western needs "A Stranger in Paso Bravo" ticks plenty of boxes from are mystery man with the unusual choice for not wearing guns to the local town run by a local rancher and filled with his unruly gunmen. But the one box "A Stranger in Paso Bravo" fails to tick is being memorable or at least being completely memorable as there are parts of this which stick in your mind for the right reason such as a scene where are hero deals with 6 bullying gunmen with one rifle. In fact it isn't just the action scenes which work as a scene where Gary encounters a man who sells him water has a playful quality which makes it equally as memorable.

But as I said, as a whole "A Stranger in Paso Bravo" is not a memorable spaghetti western, just a good one and that comes down to the acting as whilst Anthony Steffen goes through the motions of playing the movie's mysterious hero seeking the truth over the fire he ends up coming across as anonymous. It is the same with all the actors even those who over act when it comes to their characters re-actions as none of them bring real depth of character to their parts.

What this all boils down to is that "A Stranger in Paso Bravo" is one of those spaghetti westerns which if you enjoy the genre and want to pass some time then it is worth watching. But if you watch "A Stranger in Paso Bravo" hoping for anything more other than middle of the road entertainment you are likely to end up bored.