Synopsis by Michael Betzold
Long before he scored with the epic Ragtime, novelist E.L. Doctorow wrote a minor novel upon which this stark 1967 film is based. It was adapted for the screen by veteran western director Burt Kennedy. In a forlorn town called Hard Times in the Old West, a cowardly mayor, Will Blue (Henry Fonda), does little to protect the citizens from the rampages of a ruthless criminal known as The Man from Bodie (Aldo Ray). The cold-blooded killer gets away with murder -- and then he burns down the town as he leaves. The citizens rebuild, and a newcomer named Zar (Keenan Wynn) injects some life into the desolate place by opening a saloon that attracts a bevy of interesting women, including Molly Riordan (Janice Rule) and Adah (Janice Paige). However, things again look bleak when The Man from Bodie returns to town.
arson, bad-guy, bar [pub], burn, cowboy, espionage, evil, fear, good-guy, killing, mayor, outlaw [Western], rebuilding, return, sheriff, shoot-out, small-town, survivor, town, west, hardships, ray [beam], time