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Western films, from silent to today

The Return of Desperado (1988)

Alex McArthur is Duell McCall, a desperado searching for the one man who can clear his name.

A black man named Nathaniel Pickett (Victor Love) saves McCall from a bounty hunter, but steals his horse.

Pickett is rushing to the town of Las Truces to deliver the money needed to secure a parcel of land for he and other former members of the 9th Colored Cavalry. And his own horse is on its last legs.

Duell tracks Pickett to the town of Beauty. He finds his horse. He finds Nathaniel, too. He’s been tossed in jail for murdering a newspaperman.

But the murdered man’s niece (Nancy Walker as Kate) tells McCall the truth: Nathaniel didn’t kill anyone. She suspects Marcus Dryden (Robert Foxworth), the founder of Beauty, had the newspaperman killed because of information he’d uncovered about the town leader.

What’s more, Kate suspects she might be next n Dryden’s hit list.

And so the drifting Desperado once again finds himself siding with the downtrodden and standing up against a corrupt town leader.


The first of four sequels to 1987’s “Desperado.” All five films starred Alex McArthur’s likeable Duell McCall. And generally, they were better than the average TV movie Western fare being served up at the time.

This one has a unique plot thanks to the scheme Dryden is pulling. He’s convincing the residents of Beauty to raise money to give him so he can buy land on their behalf.

The railroad, he says, is destined for Beauty, and that will make everyone rich. In truth, the railroad is destined for Las Truces, and Dryden is using the townsfolk money to buy up land there in his own name.

Complicating matters: Kate thinks the information her uncle dug up to expose the swindle is locked up in the town bank. Billy Dee Williams plays Lancaster, leader of the black settlers; Vanessa Bell Calloway is Molly, sister of the man condemned to hang.

Directed by:
E.W. Swackhammer

Alex McArthur … Duell McCall
Robert Foxworth … Marcus Dryden
Marcy Walker … Katelyn Jones
Vanessa Bell Calloway … Molly Pickett
Victor Love … Nathaniel Pickett
Billy Dee Williams … Daniel Lancaster
Charles Boswell … Evans
Hal Havins … Fletch
Danny Kamin … Sharkey
J. Jay Saunders … Ben

Runtime: 92 min.

Memorable lines:

Nathaniel Pickett: “You know, saving a man’s life in China — the man you saved has to dedicate his whole life to the one who did the saving.”
Duell McCall, having just been saved by Nathaniel: “Good thing we’re in New Mexico.”

Katelyn Jones to Capt. Marcus Dryden: “Michael Flynn said he wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire. Save your condolences for someone who believes you.”

Duell McCall: “Sometimes freedom has a high price.”
Daniel Lancaster: “Too high for me, boy.”

Katelyn Jones: “Have you ever done it (robbed a bank)?”
Duell McCall: “No, ma’am. But I’ve got a reputation for it, so I might as well.”

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