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Western films, from silent to today

Dirty Little Billy (1972)

Dirty Little Billy (1972) poster Michael J. Pollard is Billy Bonney, a teen forced to leave New York and settle on a farm in the West with his mother and step-father.

The step-father (Willard Sage as Henry McCarty) has little use for the teen and his belly-aching and encourages him to run away from home.

Instead, he takes up in the Coffeyville saloon with an old-timer named Charles Nile, a drunken psychopath named Goldie (Richard Evans) and Goldie’s girlfriend Berle (Lee Purcell).

While Goldie drinks himself into a stupor and teaches Billy how to use a gun, Berle whores herself out to support the trio.

And all is fine until the town fathers of a growing Coffeyville decide the town would be much better off without Goldie, who has a disturbing habit of firing his pistol every time he gets the least bit aggitated.

Review:

Billy the Kid has been the topic of or a key character in dozens of Westerns, but it’s safe to say he’s never gotten this treatment before.

Pollard’s Billy is slow-witted, virginal and unfamiliar with guns. It isn’t until he goes into a blind rage near the end of this film that he kills anyone.

Unfortunately, the unique handling of the Billy the Kid character is about the only thing this unappealing film has going for it. Well, other than a rather tense knife to knife fight between Berle and another woman.

Dick Van Patten has a bit role as one of Berle’s customers; this film was released before he became a star. You’ll also spot Gary Busey in one of his first credited roles in a feature film.

Michael Pollard as Billy Bonney, Richard Evans as Goldie and Lee Purcell as Berle in Dirty Little Billy (1972)

Directed by:
Stan Dragoti

Cast:
Michael Pollard … Billy Bonney
Richard Evans … Goldie
Lee Purcell … Berle
Charles Aidman … Ben Antrim
Dran Hamilton … Catherine McCarty
Willard Sage … Henry McCarty
Mills Watson … Ed
Alex Wilson … Len
Ronny Graham … Charles Nile
Josip Elic … Jawbone
Richard Stahl … Earl Lovitt
Gary Busey … Basil Crabtree
Dick Van Patten … Berle’s customer
Scott Walker … Stormy
Rosary Nix … Louisiana
Steven Darden … Big Jim McDaniel
Henry Poach … Lloyd
Len Lesser … Slits
Ed Lauter … Tyler

Runtime: 93 min.

Charles Aidman as Ben Antrim and Michael Pollard as Bill Bonney in Dirty Little Billy (1972)

Memorable lines:

Henry McCarthy: “You belly ached in New York. And you belly ached on the train all the way out here. I’m warning you — the days of your belly-aching are done.”

Goldie to Berle: “You’re devleoping some bad habits. You cure yourself now, bitch.”

Berle to Goldie: “Goldie, I’m warning you, if he’s in (Billy), I’m out. I got all the work I can handle now. I ain’t supporting him to. I’m crossing my legs for good.”

Goldie: “The cattle drive is coming, you got yourself a sheriff and that sheriff wants me out of here.. That’s it, Ben, isn’t it?”
Ben Antrim: “That’s it.”
Goldie: “Okay, I won’t argue, Ben. I’ll go right through that door. But when I go through that door, I’ll have a gun in this hand and torch in this hand and I’ll burn and kill every god damned thing I lay eyes on. You undertand, Ben. Total destruction. That’s what you’re going to have on your hands.”

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