A TIME FOR DYING
1982, Budd Boetticher, Western
Budd Boetticher’s last feature, this film also marks the final appearance by legendary WW2 veteran Audie Murphy in motion pictures before his untimely death in 1971. Keenly reviewed by the New York Times and Roger Ebert in 1982, Ebert called A Time For Dying “the damndest, confoundingest Western you can imagine“.
Aspiring to be a famous bounty hunter, Cass Bunning instead finds himself in Silver City coming to the rescue of Ms. Nellie Winters, a naive young woman who just arrived in town after unwittingly answering an ad to work in a brothel. After being caught in a hotel together in Vinegaroon, the pair are forcibly married by the drunken and cantankerous Judge Roy Bean as punishment for violating the town’s “indecent conduct” law. On the way back to the family ranch, Nellie and Cass have a run-in with notorious outlaw Jesse James, who warns them about trouble brewing back in Silver City. Recognizing an opportunity to fulfill his bounty hunter dreams, Cass heads back to Silver City to contend with the James Bandits and Billy Pimple in a final showdown.