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||IMDB Rating: 5.9/10 from N/A votes
||Release: 31 Oct 1972 /
||Director: John Llewellyn Moxey,
||Synopsis: Two rival bounty hunters are after the same killer, but find they have to join together to fight off his gang.
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Clint Walker is a mean bounty hunter in this early 1970's made for
television western. He rides into town to dump his latest capture,
and makes the local saloon flies mad in the process. The
hangers-on, led by Richard Basehart, decide to get back at Walker
for refusing to buy them a drink with his new found wealth. Walker
leaves to capture a $5000 reward by getting Billy Riddle, played by
John Ericson. He spirits Ericson away from a ghost town/criminal
hangout, but also gets some extra baggage in the form of
Ericson's girlfriend, Margot Kidder.
As Ericson and Kidder speak in whispers and plan their escape,
Basehart's gang decides to take Ericson from Walker and claim
the reward as their own. Suddenly, a routine bounty for Walker
turns into something else as he must deal with enemies on two
fronts. Kidder, however, begins to take a liking to Walker, and the
trio get pinned down by the gang with no food and water. The final
plot twist is a surprise, and helps along an otherwise standard
Walker bares a resemblance to Tom Selleck, and is just fine here.
He is not the nice guy from other films I have seen him in, and his
story about what happened to his wife explains the bitterness in
his character. Walker should have had a much larger career in
westerns than he did. Kidder is very good as Mae, the prostitute
who falls for Riddle. Some of her dialogue is a little shrill, but she
handles it well and turns in a performance that is smart. Richard
Basehart is the creepy head of the gang that rides after Walker. It
is almost refreshing to have villains who want one thing, money,
and have no past history or old scores to settle with the
The film is a brief seventy four minutes, so any deep meanings
and characterization is lost, save Walker and Kidder. This is also
the kind of film where the good guy must win, must hit everything
he shoots at, and must turn the bad girl good, and all of that is
A real plus is Moxey's direction, which is neither boring nor fanciful.
He shows real nuts and bolts camera moves, not trying to take
away from his leads or the action taking place. The title song and
musical score are a mess, done by some forgotten pop group
called The Orphanage.
"The Bounty Man" is a basic western that delivers the goods, and
does not want much from its audience in return. It is entertaining
and watchable, but I do not think the members of the television
academy overlooked it for any awards. I do recommend it, fans of
westerns may appreciate it more than others.
This is unrated, and contains physical violence, gun violence, and
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