6 Guns is a not very special but acceptable straight-to-video Western, a project of the Van Dyke clan. It’s currently available on Netflix. It’s better than the average made-for-TV or Hallmark offering, being a touch more adult and gritty.
The star is Barry, son of Dick Van Dyke, and the director is Shane (a good Western name), a grandson of the faux-Cockney comic star. It’s the only Western of both. Still, you’ve got to start somewhere.
I've seen worse
Barry plays a vaguely Clintish bounty hunter (all the rage at the moment on this blog), taciturn, tough and tenacious. He is cornily described in the dialogue as “the best bounty hunter in the West”. The movie opens with a cloyingly heart-warming happy-family scene in a cabin with loving husband and wife with two angelic children, but this (overdone) domestic bliss is shattered by a band of five brutal outlaws led by savage Lee Horn (stuntman Geoff Meed, not bad as principal baddie) and his lowlife confederates. The gang murder the little boys, also shoot to death the honest sheriff-husband (Brian Wimmer, star of a 2006 Butch Cassidy spin-off The Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy) and proceed to rape the wife. They are not nice at all.
The wife, Selina (Sage Mears), survives but becomes the town drunk. Our bounty-hunter hero (as you know, bounty hunters in Westerns are semi-bad but generally on the side of Right), who goes by the Western name of Frank Allison, takes pity on her and essays to rehabilitate the fallen woman. She cleans up and begs Frank to teach her to shoot. He reluctantly agrees. So far, so fairly standard, but in this day and age it’s a young woman who learns to be a gunfighter and gets her revenge, not a man. The bounty huntress is born.
It’s all set in Arizona, around Bisbee, though shot in California. They use a rather sepia coloring to give it ‘age’ and a hint of nostalgia.
Well, the badmen leave but return when they hear that Selina has survived, for she is a witness who must be eliminated. The sheriff (Greg Evigan, who had been in Shadow on the Mesa and another TV movie, Mail Order Bride) is understandably nervous for he is not as tough as Frank and indeed, he is duly violently removed from the action by the gang. So it’s all up to Frank to resist the hateful five. But wait, for here comes Selina…
So there’s a final showdown in Bisbee and I shall not tell you who wins, though you may guess.
An outlaw bites the dust
It’s all OK, I guess, and you could watch it. I personally wouldn’t splash out on a DVD purchase but if it came on TV you could give it a go. I’m not sure what the title refers to. There were five guns of the badmen, and seven if you count the good guys. It has a modern slightly feminist tinge to it and the last scene (unthinkable in earlier Westerns) reinforces that.
So long for now, e-pards. I’ll be back on the trail soon.