Big Jessie (1968)
Crown Runs in to Hartley
Marshal Jim Crown (Stuart Whitman) finds himself in trouble whilst escorting criminal, Bud Baylor (Eddie Hodges), to New Mexico to face trial as he is jumped by Bud's outlaw brother who steal his badge and papers. As Jim tries to track them down he finds himself coming up against a posse and a bounty hunter who believes he is one of the outlaws they are after and with no papers he can't prove who he is. Fortunately the attractive Jessica Cabot (Mariette Hartley) comes to his rescue and together must avoid those hunting him down whilst getting the real badmen.
"Big Jessie" is really episode 20 of the 60s western series "Cimarron Strip" but as I have mentioned before, due to their stand alone nature they are now often shown as individual movies, As such at 75 minutes, 90 with adverts, "Big Jessie" is an entertaining distraction for fans of old style westerns. In fact it has a surprisingly enjoyable storyline with Jim Crown being mistaken for an outlaw and having to go on the run to prove his innocence with the aid of the pleasant Jessica. What this does mean is that whilst the other regulars such as Percy Herbert and Jill Townsend show up they are barely in it.
But "Cimarron Strip" only lasted one series, 23 episodes in total and whilst the storyline in "Big Jessie" is good it feels like the budget had been cut with weaker camera work and action handled pretty abruptly. It lets things down ever so slightly especially as the build up with Jim ending up with a distinct rifle belonging to an outlaw makes it feel like it is building up to some trouble.
What this all boils down to is that "Big Jessie" is entertaining for fans of 60s westerns and whilst not an original storyline it has a decent one. The trouble is that something technically is lacking from this movie/ episode and when it comes to the action it comes up disappointingly short.
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