Chisum (director: Andrew V. McLaglen; screenwriter: Andrew J. Fenady/from the sory by Andrew J. Fenady "Chisum and the Lincoln County Cattle War"; cinematographer: William H. Clothier; editor: Robert Simpson; music: Dominic Frontiere; cast: John Wayne (John Simpson Chisum), Forrest Tucker (Murphy), Geoffrey Deuel (Billy the Kid), Patric Knowles (Henry Tunstall), Pamela McMyler (Sally Chisum), Ben Johnson (Pepper), Glenn Corbett (Pat Garrett), Christopher George (Dan Nodeon), Andrew Prine (Alex McSween), Lynda Day (Sue McSween), Bruce Cabot (Sheriff Brady), Robert Donner (Morton, deputy sheriff), Ray Teal (Justice J.B. Wilson), Gregg Palmer (Karl Riker), Alan Baxter (Gov. Axtell), Richard Jaeckel (Jess Evans); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Andrew J. Fenady; Warner Brothers; 1970)
A stylish big-budget rousing range war Western that is a gimmicky mix of myth and hokum, directed with flair by Andrew V. McLaglen; it plays cutesy with the Billy the Kid (Geoffrey Deuel) and Pat Garrett (Glenn Corbett) movie lore legend and touches on the actual history of the Lincoln County Cattle War but in a Hollywoodish way, something that almost fouls up the fictionalized John Simpson Chisum (John Wayne) part. He's the staunch reformed Indian fighter and gunslinger who is now an Indian lover and honest cattle baron on the side of the little guy and frontier justice (overlooking the fact he was a monopolist before the arrival of his villainous rival). Chisum is the good-guy capitalist fighting the evil capitalist Murphy (Forrest Tucker), a newcomer to the 1878 New Mexico Territory town of Lincoln who is buying out all the local businesses through legal and semi-legal means while expanding his ranch and bribing the law as far away as in the capital, where the unprincipled appointed frontier governor sits, and locally through his stooge Sheriff Brady.*
It's produced and scripted by Andrew J. Fenady, from his story "Chisum and the Lincoln County Cattle War."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz