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Billy May (Arch Hall jr) comes to Texas with the sole purpose to get
some equipment and go search for gold - but since he is such a quick draw,
everybody thinks before long he is actually Billy the Kid, here to fight
it out with Wild Bill Hickok (Robert Dix), who is expected in town a few
days from now. However, Billy ha soon made the necessary arrangements and
leaves the town to dig for gold with newly acquired sidekick Tennessee
Thompson (Jack Lester) to dig for gold.
Unfortunately, Billy and Tennessee have (unbeknowest to them) chosen
Indian territory as base for their operations, and it is not long before
Billy is captured by the Indians. However, when the Indians recognize him
as the one who once saved the lives of some of them, they set him free,
and when Billy realizes their white chieftain is his own father (Arch Hall
sr, also Arch hall jr's real father), he becomes their guest of honour in
this night's feast - where he also meets the Indian girl Little Bird (La
Donna Cottier), and the two somehow fall in love.
Then though, Billy hears about the plans of his father to make his
Indians his new Confederate army to continue the long-lost war, and he
turns his back on the Indians. Little Bird however follows him, and when
he sends her back, she is raped by two brutes. Fortunately for her, Billy
finds her harldly alive body a short time afterwards and brings her to
Deadwood, where she is nursed back to health. However, all of Deadwood is
preparing for the big duel between Billy (whom they still think to be
Billy the Kid) and Wild Bill Hickok, treating it like a big sporting event
and even betting on the outcome. It is only when Wild Bill and Billy meet
in person that the citizens are disappointed when Wild Bill doesn't want
to shoot a man he does not believe to be Billy the Kid and Billy doesn't
want to shoot a man he bears no grudge against - and both of them walk
away from the duel as friends. Later that day however, Billy by chance
crosses paths with the two men wh have raped Little Bird ... and shoots
them in cold blood. Then a fifteen year old boy (Jonny Bryant) wants to
shoot him, for no other reason than to prove himself to be a big
gunslinger ... and Billy has to shoot him in pure self-defense. This alone
is enough to bring up the Deadwood citizens against Billy, and soon enough
they form a lynch mob and hunt down Billy who eventually has to realize he
is no match for the mob that grossly outnumbers him, and he is led to the
next tree, his head in a noose. A local preacher (Richard Cowl) tries to
save his life and at least give him a fair trial, but the mob is so
bloodthirsty that they even shoot the preacher, just to see Billy hang ...
Back at the Indian camp, Billy's father, Tennessee, Little Bird and the
rest of the Indians mourn his death ...
Deadwood '76 might not be a classic of the genre, and probably
deservedly so, but in all it is not a bad B-Western, it is competently
directed, beautifully shot, features quite a few plot elements and plot
twists (even if a bit too much is packed into roughly over 90 minutes of
film), and even Arch Hall jr, who has at time been riciculed for earlier
acting jobs (and deservedly so) turns in an adequate performance - at
least as long as his big pompadour doesn't get into the way (he does wear
a hat most of the time though).
Once again, it's not a classic, but it is good Western entertainment.