The Kid from Texas (1950)

Written by John Chard on July 16, 2014

El Chivato

The Kid from Texas (AKA: Texas Kid, Outlaw) is directed by Kurt Neumann and written by Robert Hardy Andrews and Karl Kamb. It stars Audie Murphy, Gale Storm, Albert Dekker, Shepperd Strudwick and Will Geer. Music is by Milton Schwarzwald and cinematography by Charles Van Enger.

11th July 1879, Lincoln County, and a young man born of the name William Henry McCarty Junior is about to write his name into the annals of infamy...

"I'll get every man who had a hand in this killing if it's the last thing I do"

It's a "B" feature in production terms and it's a hodge-podge of historical facts, but in the trajectory of Western movies it's a rather important piece. It also happens to be great entertainment for the Western fan.

It would be the film to launch Audie Murphy on the road to Western iconography, whilst simultaneously becoming a valid early addition for cinematic representations of the Billy the Kid legend. Historically the core basis of the film is accurate, though the chronology is all over the place. There's also a bizarre decision to use different character names for McSween, Tunstall and Dolan, three of the major players in the Lincoln County War.

However, the portrayals of the principal real life people is surprisingly well balanced, there's no attempts at romanticising the issues, no side picking, because both sides are equally driven and culpable for the carnage and misery that would play out during this time in Western history.

As an Oater on entertainment terms it delivers wholesale, there's some staid acting, not least from Murphy, who you can see is feeling his way into how he should react in front of a camera. Yet there's a magnetic charm to Murphy that would serve him well in this specialist genre field. It also helps to have a very reliable supporting cast backing him up, be it the wonderfully named Gale Storm's beauty, or Dekker and Geer being acting professionalism personified, there's a lot to enjoy here on the thespian production front.

The requisite amount of action is in full effect, as are key moments in the real story that provide some great scenes; such as the infamous jail break, while the colour photography is most pleasant. Ultimately it's a revenge story for the "B" Western loving crowd, where the villains are slippery and the anti-hero a damaged dandy. Sometimes you gotta peer through the gloss to get the facts, but what fun that proves to be. Yee-haw. 7/10