Fans of Classic Westerns May Enjoy This Remake

© Photo: Jeff Herberger

Fans of Classic Westerns May Enjoy This Remake

NOTE:  This is a portion of our review of BILL TILGHMAN AND THE OUTLAWS. For the full review, including a breakdown of content, violence, sex, language and nudity, click here.

BILL TILGHMAN AND THE OUTLAWS is a revamp of the classic Hollywood Western starring some of the renowned stars from 1960s television westerns. The movie is entertaining with some good acting and some terrific scenes, but a little bit of it is campy and slow.

Based on a true story, sort of, the movie is set in 1915 as the Wild West is fast becoming just a memory. Famous Hollywood movie producer William Selig, who’s credited as “the man who invented Hollywood,” loved to film real people on location. So, he travels to Oklahoma to hire the famous Marshal Bill Tilghman to play himself in a bank robbery movie that will also star real outlaws, including Cole Younger and Frank James.

Marshal Tilghman is still keeping law and order, even in the saloon he owns, and the small town is peppered with classic western characters, including the town drunk, gamblers and women of ill repute. When the town drunk gets rowdy at a motion picture show in a tent, Bill Tilghman’s wife, Zoe, punches him out. When he wakes up, he goes to Bill’s bar to make more trouble. Tilghman arrests the town drunk, who claims he once rode with Cole Younger and the James brothers.

Bill Selig, who was showing the movie in the tent, finds Bill and offers him more money than Bill’s been paid in five years to be in his movie recreating a wild west robbery. They go to the nearest prison to find convicts to play in the movie, most of who had been put in jail by Bill. Every one of the convicts has a score to settle. Selig thinks he can hire the convicts, pay the prison to let them out for a little time and guard them while they play in his movie. Of course, the convicts have another idea: using the movie to rob the bank.

One of the townspeople is Frank James, who now has a little business as a haberdasher. Prisoner Cole Younger convinces Frank he should help him rob the bank. A woman smuggles bullets to Cole to replace the blanks he’s supposed to fire. However, one of the prisoners, Murphy, doesn’t care about the bank, but only cares about revenge.

After a day or so of rehearsal, the robbery starts while the preacher in the church is preaching love and forgiveness. The robbery soon gets out of hand, the bank teller is actually shot in the arm, and it looks like good people, including Tilghman, may not survive.

BILL TILGHMAN AND THE OUTLAWS has some good cinematography, good dialoguer, some exciting scenes, and some very funny scenes. Some of it, however, is a little slow, and some is campy and over the top.

For those of us who love the classic Hollywood western, it is a delight to watch. However, it does have some foul language, which wasn’t in the Hollywood westerns. Also, it does have drinking and smoking, which give it a lower acceptability that it otherwise would have.

The action is good, the fistfights are well done, and the gunfight is exciting. The movie does have a redemptive element, plus strong support for marriage, honest, decency, and law and order. Also, one of the outlaws has been saved by Jesus Christ and carries his Bible while he tries to explain the Gospel to others. Finally, the movie has a positive portrait of a Christian pastor.

NOTE:  This is a portion of our review of BILL TILGHMAN AND THE OUTLAWS. For the full review, including a breakdown of content, violence, sex, language and nudity, click here.

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