Synopsis by Mark Deming
Two outlaws discover the harder they try to escape the hangman, the closer to him they seem to get in this impressionistic Western. Jake Finney (Jon Jacobs) is a small-time gunfighter who is arrested by a sheriff (Stephen Polk) who is keen on having him hung as soon as possible. As Jake is led off to jail, he meets a fellow prisoner, Steve West (Michael Kastenbaum), a second-rate horse thief. Steve discovers that Jake has an escape plan which involves a realistic looking phony gun Jake has carved out of wood; Steve is desperate to break free, and offers Jake a cache of gold if he'll help him escape. The jailbreak is a success, and Jake and Steve head for the Canadian border, with the sheriff in close pursuit. After a run-in with the law, Jake and Steve have to shoot their way out of a tight spot; they get away, but Steve is hurt, and they're forced to turn to a local woman, Annie May (Dawn Kapatos), who helps tend Steve's wounds. Before long, Steve and Annie May have fallen in love, and while Steve recuperates, Jake decides to renew his relationship with Stella (Haley Gilbert), a former girlfriend. Stella, however, turns her back on Jake, and once Steve is better, the outlaws are once again on the run from the law, with Annie May in tow and the Canadian border always out of reach. Actor and director Jon Jacobs directed The Wooden Gun in collaboration with his co-star, Michael Kastenbaum; the film was shot on 16 mm stock for only 7,000 dollars, but the final product went unseen for several years until it was screened at a retrospective of Jacobs' work in 2000.