17 October 2013 | MartinHafer
While I hate the historical inaccuracies, I did appreciate the way the story was told.
This is my first Bob Steele film and I am sure it won't be my last. While I have watched dozens and dozens of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and other B-westerns, I never got around to a Steele film and I am glad I finally did. While Steele is NOT a handsome or super-charismatic leading man, he was solid and the film was entertaining--even if it played fast and loose with the facts from a historical point of view. In fact, this is my one big gripe--that so many B-westerns portrayed William Bonny (Billy the Kid) as a hero and not a low-down skunk killer that he really was. Here in "Billy the Kid in Santa Fe", he's actually a lawman and upholds justice!!! What were those writers smoking?!
The film begins with Billy getting convicted of a crime he never committed. The leaders of the town know he's innocent and have conspired to hand him--but fortunately Billy and his sidekicks are too smart and manage to escape their clutches. Now, in another town, they help to bring law and order to the place and Billy becomes sheriff!!! What exactly comes next is something you'll need to see for yourself, though I must admit I really liked the final 15 minutes of the film. I also liked the sort of sidekick Al 'Fuzzy' St. John played here. I've seen him play worthless and dopey sidekicks for other cowboys but here he is NOT comic relief but very smart and capable! Overall, enjoyable even if the history teacher within me balks at the notion of making Billy the Kid anything other than a lawless jerk.
UPDATE: After posting this review, I noticed that Steele made several more Billy the Kid films. I'll be seeing these and posting reviews sometime in the near future.