The Bounty Killer (1965)
Doesn't Make a Killing
Having arrived fresh in town from the East, Willie Duggan (Dan Duryea) soon gets a lesson in the ways of the Wild West when he gets into a fight for chatting to another man's woman, Carole (Audrey Dalton). Fortunately for the naive Willie, gun fighter Johnny Liam (Rod Cameron) comes to his rescue and tells Willie he needs to wise up and to do it quickly. In need of some money Willie takes a job guarding a payroll and when he has a run in with some outlaws he learns of the bounty on the leader's head and decides bringing outlaws in would be a good way to make money. Things don't go to plan when he has a run in with Mike Clayman (Buster Crabbe) who kills his partner and leaves Willie for dead but after recovering from his injuries Willie is hell bent on getting revenge.
10 years, 10 years would make a huge difference to this movie if it had been made just 10 years earlier. You see "The Bounty Killer" is entertaining with an interesting idea of a naive man from the East heading West and turning into a mean bounty hunter with a desire for vengeance. But by 1965 the popularity of the western genre was starting to fade and like some other westerns from the second half of the 60s this felt like it was made relatively quickly on a limited budget. I say this because there is scene after scene which feels like it was the first shot the director took and was a bit rough, unpolished if you like which is the same when it comes to the dialogue and the performances. On the subject of which Dan Duryea trying to play a naive nice guy is so forced it is painful and fortunately half way through the movie his character transforms.
But whilst "The Bounty Killer" has its issues when it comes to the production it still has plenty of appeal for fans of the western genre because it features so many stars of older westerns. It actually makes it annoying as when you have Dan Duryea, Rod Cameron, Buster Crabber, Fuzzy Knight and Johnny Mack Brown in a movie as you want more than what is offered up in this. It is purely because there are so many western faces that the nostalgic charm keeps you watching.
What this all boils down to is that "The Bounty Hunter" has both the idea and the cast to be a good western but unfortunately the final product ends up lacking and has the feel of a western made quickly on limited funds to draw on the popularity of the genre as it started to fade.
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