By Natasha Samreny
“Gee Dad, it’s great to see you again. How’d you get your parole so soon?”
You can usually count on getting two things from the old Westerns – good guy versus bad guy, and a compelling storyline. While a nostalgic respect for this genre might drive me to bump up its score, I feel like a meaty third of the film was missing—sucked out from between dusty skeleton scenes, hastily chopped off and left forgotten on a reel cart somewhere.
When Matt Wade (Robert Karnes) busts out of prison, he tries to convince his reformed brother Billy (James Brown) to turn back and join his group of gunslingers for a hold-up. Since Matt’s been locked up, Billy’s settled down, gotten engaged and taken care of Matt’s now-grown son Ted (John Wilder). But when Billy refuses Matt’s offer, the latter blackmails his brother to force his hand.
When the brothers start to struggle with nothing but a loaded gun between them, tragedy’s inevitable. The gun goes off, shooting Matt dead. When Billy breaks it to his nephew, Ted turns his back on his uncle and the domino trail starts to fall.
As gunslinger nemesis Ike Garvey (Walter Coy) and crooked businessman George Landon (Willis Bouchey) try to play Billy in order to get the most booty. The story that follows is okay, colored with some interesting moments and punchy dialogue that make nostalgics of the 1950s and 60s word use happy.
Ted: Hello Pop.
Matt: Howdy son! Oh doggone! Say boy, you filled out good in the last two years!
Ted: Gee Dad, it’s great to see you again. How’d you get your parole so soon?
The rich-sounding dialogue track and persistent wind-and-strings score flavor the effort. Happy Enjoyable surprises like watching cowboy cutie Mel Dixon (Gregg Palmer) in a holster and hat, and hearing “Camptown Races” in the saloon scene, convince to chew. But by the end of the movie, I was left hungry and unsatisfied.
Like the other MGM re-releases of older movies, don’t expect any DVD specials or extras. Press play and that’s all there is.