“Bronco” Billy McCoy (Clint Eastwood) is the proud owner of a small travelling Wild West show. But the business isn’t doing too well. For the past six months, he hasn’t paid his employees. At a gas station he picks up Antoinette Lily (Sondra Locke), a stuck-up blonde from a rich family, who was left behind without a penny by her husband John Arlington (Geoffrey Lewis) on their wedding night. Billy likes her looks and hires her as his assistant. She seems to bring them bad luck and the business gets even worse. In these hard times, she loses her reluctance and starts to like her new way of life, and Bronco Billy.
One Of My All-Time Favorites, Too
This movie never got much acclaim for some reason. When I read where Clint Eastwood said it was a personal favorite of his I smiled, because it’s mine, too…..and I like a lot of Eastwood’s movies.
This isn’t just my favorite Eastwood film. It’s one of my all-time favorite – period! That’s probably because it has tremendous charm, with a good mixture of comedy and drama with characters you care about. It’s definitely different from most of Clint’s movies.
The famous Eastwood glare when he’s mad is still there, and he still shows his violent side. However, it’s not a violent story, just a tale of a modern-day man and his little troupe who want to be cowboys and Indians, and go on tour with their little Wild West show.
The film has nice, colorful photography and looks great on DVD. However, the story, not the visuals, is the main attraction. It’s refreshing to see Eastwood play a role like this where he’s a Mr. Rogers-type western hero for little kids, urging children to stay on the straight and narrow, mind their parents and say their prayers before going to bed at night.
Sondra Locke also is effective as the cold newcomer who reluctantly joins the group and slowly changes from a mean-spirited, sarcastic woman to a caring person. She shows a good comedic touch and is excellent in this film, perhaps her best effort since “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.”
The rest of the cast is fun to watch, too, and it includes one of my favorite faces and voices, that of “Scatman” Crothers. There is very little profanity in this film, too, which adds to the attraction and widens the potential audience of this neglected gem. I really think it’s Eastwood’s most underrated movie.