Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Advertised on the sleeve of its home-video release as a "Charles Bronson western", Bull of the West is actually comprised of two episodes from the American TV western series The Virginian, edited together for theatrical release overseas. The segment in which Bronson appears was originally telecast as "The Nobility of Kings" on November 10, 1965. Two recurring characters on The Virginian, Trampas (Doug McClure and Randy (Randy Boone), helpfully inform newly arrived rancher Ben Justin (Bronson) that he has inadvertently violated the rules of the Stockman's Association. Conditioned by life's hard knocks to neither trust or listen to anyone but himself, the hard-drinking Ben tells Trampas and Randy to mind their own business. Another rancher, Suchette (George Kennedy), is so incensed by this attitude that makes certain Ben's cattle will not be allowed access to the railroads. Caught in the middle of this range feud is Ben's tenderfoot son Will (Bob Random), who has been forbidden to help his dad around the ranch, and has not even been allowed to ride a horse. Working in secret with Trampas and Randy at the Shiloh Ranch, Ben's wife Mary (Lois Nettleton) sees to it that Will is given riding lessons--while Ben simmers and stews at home, convinced that Mary is having an affair with The Virginian (James Drury). "The Nobility of Kings" was spliced together with the Virginian episode of January 2, 1963, "Duel at Shiloh". While having nothing to do with the Bronson episode beyond the same setting and a few of the same characters, this episode is thematically similar in that it deals with a stubbornly rugged individualist--in this instance, a grizzled ranch hand named Johnny Wade (Brian Keith)--and a potentially deadly feud, unwittingly fomented by the men of the Shiloh ranch. Specifically, Johnny finds himself on opposite sides of the fence with his tenderfoot pal Steve Hill when the latter takes a job with the Shiloh's owner Judge Garth (Lee J. Cobb), while Johnny remains loyal to rival ranch owner Geraldine Brooks.
battle [war], cattlemen, land, west