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on 19 June 2015
The Bounty Killer is directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and written by Ruth Alexander and Leo Gordon. It stars Dan Duryea, Rod Cameron, Audrey Dalton, Richard Arlen, Buster Crabbe, Fuzzy Knight and Johnny Mack Brown. Music is by Ronald Stein and cinematography by Frederick E. West.
Willie Duggans (Duryea) arrives in the Wild West and quickly becomes exposed to its violence. Finding that big money can be made by bringing in bad guys, he takes up arms and plans to make enough money to set him up for a future with Carole Ridgeway (Dalton), a beautiful saloon singer. But the job isn't easy, physically, emotionally and mentally.
It's a film that asks some forgiveness from Western fans, you are asked to accept Duryea being too old for the role, some iffy production issues, coincidences and some giant leaps of faith. Yet if you can do that and just roll with its high energy willingness to keep the Western traditional in the mid 60s? Then this is better than a time waster.
Ultimately it's a message movie about the cycle of violence and how said violence can corrupt the most amiable of minds. The screenplay deftly brings in to the equation the roles of normal outsiders who don't mind violence as long as it is for their own ends, something which brings the best sequence in the film to the fore and lets Duryea once again show his class. Backing the superb Duryea is a roll call of Western movie veterans, all of which - with the leading man - make for a reassuring presence at our Oater dinner table. Neatly photographed out of the Corriganville and Glenmoor ranches in California, this may be a "B Western" trying to keep the traditional Western afloat in the mid 60s, but it's honourable in intent and entertains the Western faithful royally. 7/10