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Deadwood 76

Deadwood 76“A case of mistaken identity leads to
  serious repercussions for a young
  gunslinger who stumbles on a town
  in waiting for a showdown between
  a notorious outlaw and a crack-shot
  legend in Deadwood 76
...”

A TRADITIONAL WESTERN with well-defined good guys and bad guys, Deadwood 76 is the story of young Billy May (the excellent Arch Hall). Billy is a drifter who is quick on the draw and it is this that singles him out as potentially being Billy The Kid.

Billy comes across Tennessee Thomson (Jack Lester), on his way to sell kittens in Deadwood, who has fallen foul of a band of Indians. Helping Tennessee to deal with this problem, Billy then accompanies him into the town.

But Deadwood is a dangerous place to be, with a continual stream of outlaws and gunslingers shooting up the town. And the last thing Billy wants is trouble. The town is the home of deadly-shot Fancy Poggin (David Read) and saloon owner Poker Kate (Liz Renay) and a lot of money is riding on the notorious outlaw Billy The Kid arriving at the town to shoot it out with Wild Bill Hickok (Robert Dix) for a final showdown.

But the men intent on winning the money do not care who is in the line of fire or who is right or wrong. The townspeople want to see a shootout between the two lightning-draw legends of the West.

Billy is forced to shoot two ranch-hands during an argument over Tennessee's kittens and also to draw against Curt Aiken (Hal Bizzy) and Hubert Steadman (Jonny Bryant) — who is out to make a name for himself. But it was never going to end there and, in spite of his denials, nobody will believe that Billy is not Billy The Kid.

Tennessee offers Billy a stake in the land he has claimed on Indian country but when Billy is taken by Chief Spotted Snake (Gordon Schwenk) and his braves to their village, there is a surprise in store for him — and a romantic interest in the shape of the lovely Little Bird (La Donna Cottier).

Can Billy dispel the belief that he is the famous outlaw? His life may depend upon proving who he is, but Deadwood is a lawless town and some will stop at nothing to capitalise on Billy being the famous outlaw.

Deadwood 76 is a clever story but although the film is digitally enhanced, this DVD is not the best quality. However, we found the story intriguing enough to stick with it and it does improve after the opening shots. Deadwood 76 is an enjoyable film with an easy-to-follow plot that is ultimately sad but ticks all the right boxes as a watchable Western. A talented and underused cast; we would have liked to have seen more of them, especially Arch Hall.

A commendable and enjoyable B-movie from 1965, Deadwood 76 does give the impression of being an older film but nevertheless it is one for Western fans. The film also features: Barbara Moore as Montana; Joan Howard as Mrs Steadman; Arch Hall Sr as Boone May; Richard S Cowl; Ray Zachary and Reed Morgan.

Director of Photography is William Zsigmond and Lewis Guinn; Music is by Harper Mackay; Song Lyrics by Arch Hall Sr; Sung by Rex Holman. Writing Credits: James Landis and Arch Hall Jr. Screenplay by Arch Hall Sr from his Original Story; Produced by Nicholas Meriwether, Arch Hall Sr; and Directed by Nicolas Meriwether.

Pegasus Entertainment Ltd releases the classic Western film Deadwood 76 on UK DVD on 11 October 2010 and it is available from Gem Logistics (orders@gemlogistics.co.uk). DVD Running Time: 95 Minutes | RRP: 5.99 | Certificate: PG | Colour.

"A commendable and enjoyable B-movie from 1965, Deadwood 76 is one for Western fans" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar