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Western films, from silent to today

The Parson and the Outlaw (1957)

The Parson and the Outlaw (1957) posterAnthony Dexter plays Billy the Kid, and in this twist on the legend, he isn’t gunned down by Pat Garrett. Instead, that notorious gunfight is a ruse designed to give Billy the Kid a new chance in life.

So while friends are attending his funeral, Billy’s preparing to head off to Four Corners and settle down as a rancher, vowing never again to pick up a gun.

Problem is, Col. Morgan has set up Four Corners as his personal empire, and plans to keep it that way, though local residents are pushing for annexation by Texas. Billy’s new friend, Jack Slade (Sonny Tufts) signs on as a gunman under Morgan.

When Parson Jericho Jones shows up in Four Corners, he immediately recognizes Billy, who has taken the name Billy Antrim, for Billy the Kid. From that point on, Billy is pressured to enter the fray, by the newspaperman’s pretty daughter Ellie, by a Mexican spitfire named Tonya and, finally, by the Parson himself.

Eventually, of course, he straps on his guns one more time.

Rating 1 out of 6Review:

The opening graveyard scene will tell you that this is the very definition of a low-budget Western.

The filmmakers clearly couldn’t afford too many cast members who could act, so we’re dealt a movie filled with wooden performance, including the Dexter in the lead role. He was fresh off a film called “Fire Maidens of Outer Space.”

Poor Marie Windsor is saddled with one of her worst parts ever, forced to speak her lines in a phony accent, she’s dunked in a barrel of water, flirts with Billy and spars with Ellie McCloud. At one point, she’s whipped by Slade, who then threatens to kill her. Yet she hops on the back of his horse and rides off when him when Billy refuses to intervene.

Marie Windsor as Tonya with Anthony Dexter as Billy the Kid in The Parson and the Outlaw (1957)Directed by:
Oliver Drake

Anthony Dexter … Billy the Kid
Sonny Tufts … Jack Slade
Marie Windsor … Tonya
Charles Rogers … Rev. Jericho Jones
Jean Parker … Sarah Jones
Robert Lowery … Col. Morgan
Madalyn Trahey … Ellie McCloud
Bob Steele … Ace Jardine
Joe Sodja … Ben, the balladeer
Bob Duncan … Marshal Pat Garrett
Paul Spahn … Lt. Paul Nash
Kenne Duncan … Matt McCloud

Memorable lines:

Billy, to the Parson: “I woke up one morning to the fact that the only way to stop killing was to get killed myself. So I got killed, and I want to stay that way. Billy the Kid is dead. And Bill Antrum will never touch as gun as long as he lives.”

Billy, to the Parson: “Do you know what it’s like to sit up on a bluff, hungry, cold, miserable, lookin’ at the lights below, behind the windows, where men are at peace in their own kitchens with wives pilin’ food on their plates and kids hollerin’. No fear of tomorrow, no ugly memory of what happened yesterday. The poorest squatter’s got more than an outlaw ever had.”

Tonya to Billy: “Don’t be afraid. I won’t tell anyone (that he’s Billy the Kid). If I tell, they will kill you. And I want you alive, Billy the Kid. Besides, you won’t be able to leave me so easy now that I’ve decided I love you.”

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