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Westerns/Name of a western tv movie


Hi, for years I have been trying to track down the name of an old, obscure western I remember seeing once some 30+ years ago on our local tv Early Show that has stuck with me ever since. I was a child at the time so my recollections are hazy at best, but here is some of what I remember for certain- it was a color film and had a distinct 1970s made-for-tv look to it. The plot went something like this- a young farmboy returns home from doing some kind of errand to find that a band of outlaws has descended upon his homestead and viciously murdered his entire family. The boy embarks on a crusade of vengeance against the gang and is aided in his quest by a gunfighter who (if I remember correctly) was also related to the victim family. In the end the two exact their revenge on the entire gang, wiping them out one by one. And I remember at the end both the boy and the gunfighter throwing their guns down a well after all the bloodshed is over. It was a powerful little film that I would dearly love to see again if at all possible. Unfortunately, too many years passed coupled with my age at the time I saw it prevent me from knowing anyone who would've been in the cast. All I can remember is the young farmboy being probably in his early teens with bright blonde hair.
Thank you so much for your time to look at my question.

Dear Robert:

  I think that I may have found the answer to your question and it is probably a Spaghetti western.It could be a 1966 movie entitled "Death Rides a Horse" starring John Philip law and Lee van Cleef (who was a reliable Spaghetti western mainstay. I will enclose a synopsis to see if it jogs your memory in any way.

  Bill (John Phillip Law), a boy whose father was killed and mother and sister were raped and murdered in front of him by a gang, sets out 15 years later to exact revenge, having used the time to become an expert marksman with a gun.

Each of the outlaws bears a characteristic that Bill memorized while watching his family slaughtered. One has a tattoo of four aces on his chest, another a scar, one a distinctive earring and one a necklace bearing a skull, while he saw the face of the fifth.

As he begins his journey, a gunfighter named Ryan (Lee Van Cleef) is released from a prison after serving 15 years there. He was framed for an armed robbery by the very men who murdered Bill's family.

When they meet along the way, Ryan gets the better of Bill, who is blinded by vengeance, but he does Bill no harm. In the next town, Ryan asks for a man named Cavanaugh (Anthony Dawson), whom Bill recognized later as the man with four aces tattoo. Bill managed to kill Cavanaugh in a duel, but the more experienced Ryan insists on tracking the other outlaws alone. They cross path again in Lyndon City, where Ryan meets rich banker named Walcott (Luigi Pistilli) and demands his share of the robbery 15 years ago, But Walcott stages a robbery on his bank and frames Ryan. When the tables are turned later, Bill reciprocates, helping Ryan escape from a jail. An equally determined Bill sets out ahead of him.

Bill reaches a Mexican town, where he recognized the man with the big earring and guns him down. He is captured by the outlaws, beaten and buried alive from the neck down (He also recognized the man with the scar and Walcott). Left to die in the hot sun, he is rescued by Ryan, who shoots several men standing guard. Preparing for the gang's return, Bill notices that Ryan is wearing a necklace with a skull. Ryan admits he was present during the murders. He gives his word that once the outlaws have been dealt with, he will remain to face whatever justice Bill seeks.

In a final shootout during a sand storm, the last remaining man who killed Bill's family has him dead to rights, only to be killed by Ryan's thrown knife. Bill nonetheless insists on revenge. Ryan's gun is empty, so Bill tosses a bullet to him. He has just one bullet left now himself. Ryan turns his back and walks away, daring Bill to shoot him in the back. Bill fires, but it is only to kill a surviving outlaw. A grateful Ryan then watches him ride away.

It is a very intense revenge movie and has many of the plot elements which you are looking for.
I hope this is the one which has been so elusive for you to track down. If not, do not hesitate to get in touch with me again.

Take care and God bless you,


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Bruce Simon


I can answer virtually any question concerning TV westerns since 1950. I also have collected Western movies faithfully since 1984 and own several hundred (prominent ones such as High Noon or How the West was Won) as well as B movies and below (White Comanche and The Sundowners)I own rare TV series such as Yancey Derringer,the 13 episodes of Tate with David Maclean, and select episodes of Judge Roy Bean


I have been a Western aficionado since the age of 8 (so for the last 50 years). I have been a faithful collector of Lone Ranger episodes and memorabilia since the early 1970s. I find myself drawn more to the black and white series because I find color an unnecessary plot distraction and love to study the evolution and settlement of the Old West through the leather bound Time-Life series on the West. The principal factor which attracts me to this period is the consistent triumph of virtue over vice. The forces of evil, no matter how malevolent, are never victorious in any Western. So I am appreciative of the inflexible morality set forth in most Western series

I have belonged to 5 different churches in 35 years where I have held posts of Sunday school teacher, outreach leader, and board member. Since my retirement to Rowlesburg, West Virginia, I have held the post of Town Park Commissioner for 2 years and anticipate a position on our Town Council beginning in July.

I was a free lance book reviewer for the Richmond Times Dispatch for 15 years, I reviewed 129 books during this period. I also reviewed 25 books for Style Weekly, an independent publication.

I have a BA in English Literature and a minor in Linguistics from Virginia Commonwealth University. I graduated in 1976. I also had a half year of Bible College from New Life Outreach in Richmond, Virginia (1984-1985)

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While employed by the Richmond Public Library for 29 years, I have been honored for outstanding customer service and have received awards for creative programming for Young Adults on 2 occasions.

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I am still an expert for the category of mystery fiction on this website.

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