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  • I Killed Wild Bill Hickok is a fictionalised story about how a man called Johnny Rebel (Johnny Carpenter) came to gun down the famed Wild Bill Hickok (Tom Brown), who here is the corrupt sheriff of Tri City at the end of the Civil War.

    OK! It's pretty bad if unassuming, where running at just over an hour in length it is thirty minutes too long! Released in 1956 but thought to have been made in 54, everything about the film feels more like a 30s Oater. From production value, musical scoring, acting performances, directing style (Richard Talmadge) and etc, it just comes off as being a genre piece well out of its time.

    It's always the innocent.

    Some olde Western staples are adhered to, with shoot-outs, pesky Indians, chases, pretty gal interest and good versus evil of course, but these are all gelled together by stock footage and repeat scenes to pad out the picture. There's a number of scenes of horses running around which really serve no purpose, though a clever white Palomino is actually the best actor in the picture!

    It all builds to a furious finale, where producer - writer - star Carpenter gets to waylay practically the whole town on his own, his repeater rifles thrown to him from the side by the lovely Belle Longtree (Helen Westcott). It is here where the picture at least makes it worth the time spent viewing it, with a whole raft of admirable stunt work on show. Talmadge proves to be not much of a director, but the fact he was a stunt man of some note himself is very much evident in the film's last 15 minutes.

    Approach with caution. 4/10
  • An amusing turn of events here. It's like if the Pope was a bad guy and Mehmet Ali Agca was the good guy, this movie twists events, uh, somewhat, and makes Wild Bill the scum of the earth, killing off Indians, taking bribes, killing people for their property, and the quest of one man, Johnny Rebel (Look THAT name up in your history books kids) to get rid of that gun totin' varmint once and for all! Ha ha! I suppose they put that in there to distract you from boring yourself out watching the many MANY MANNNY scenes of horses running around, and a white Palomino who seems to have a mind of it's own! No reason for this, unless it's some kind of really really deep metaphor involved that I missed. The ending for this actually is quite great though, as Johnny Rebel goes into town almost alone and singlehandedly kills everyone, no card game involved! WILD! Listen when one of the gang gets killed, someone yells "bang" off camera for their cue.
  • Hollywood has a long, long history of playing fast and loose in depicting historical figures. The worst cases often involved folks from the old west...particularly by films that depict evil men such as Billy the Kid and Jesse James as heroes!! They were murderers and thieves....yet films make them out to be swell fellows. This playing very fast and loose with the facts is the reason why I really hated "I Killed Wild Bill Hickok"!

    So what did I hate about this film? First, in real life, Hickok was NOT shot in a shootout with Johnny Reb like he was in the film...he was shot in the back by a jerk while he was playing poker. Second, he was NOT an evil man but a lawman. While his career was a tad checkered, he was NOT the lacky for some evil boss like he was in the film. Third, and this is the most unforgivable thing, the film is incredibly dull and stupid....but mostly dull! The acting was wooden, the writing amateurish and the film was just tedious.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Far from being great, this super low-budget, indie, Western from 1956 (with a running time of only 64 minutes) was still quite entertaining (in a cheap sort of way).

    Set in New Mexico, near Tri-City, this old west tale has the rugged horse-trader, Johnny Rebel, tracking down the legendary Western figure, Wild Bill Hickok, in order to kill him for crimes, either real or imagined, that he believes that Hickok has committed.

    In this picture, Hickok, who is presently Tri-City's sheriff, is portrayed as being a real shifty and slimy bastard who's in cahoots with Jim Bailey, a totally lousy S.O.B. whose crooked dealings also include selling rifles (that were meant for the US Military) to the Indians.

    A bit slow-paced at times, and featuring lots of footage of horses in the wild, running in packs, I Killed Wild Bill Hickok has a grand-slam final showdown with Johnny Rebel literally shooting down nearly 20 of Tri-City's worst hombres, single-handedly, before he finally gets his trusty, freshly-loaded rifle aimed on you-know-who.
  • This one is bad, from start to finish. The story tries to justify the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, painting him as a claim-jumping scoundrel. A bad plot, poor direction and non-existent production values make this one easy to pass on. If there is a redeeming feature here, it is the presence of Ms. Westcott, whose talents are wasted in this lackluster event.
  • The story of Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back in Deadwood is legend enough and familiar enough for me to question why such a film as I Killed Wild Bill Hickok is even made. In this independent and very low budget western not even the name of Jack McCall the guy who actually did the deed is even mentioned. No story of how he was holding a full house hand of aces and eights the famous dead man's hand is mentioned here either.

    Wild Bill is played by Tom Brown and he's one quick man on the draw all right, but he's also corrupt and in league with a crooked horse trader played by Denver Pyle who wants the army to have no horses unless Indian trouble gets so bad they'll pay stratosphere dollar for them.

    Johnny Carpenter who plays a former lawman himself is now in the horse business himself and his arrival with a herd upsets a lot of people. That's the start of events leading up to a shootout with Carpenter and Brown. The sequence by the way was inspired by John Wayne and Tom Tyler and brothers shooting it out in Stagecoach.

    I doubt this film is a candidate for restoration since it's pretty shoddy with the production values and camera work. It certainly is a film that tells you right in the title what it's all about.