A return to feature films for director Boetticher after nearly 10 years, during which time he devoted himself to a documentary on the matador Arruza. This is an offbeat western that explores the myth of the western hero. A young farm boy, Lapp, comes off the farm and into the land of
killers and lawlessness. His goal is to make something of himself through his gunhandling ability, and he attempts to do so as a bounty hunter. Unfortunately he is no match for a psychotic gunman, and meets an early burial. But before the lad is gunned down, he encounters several of the legendary
heroes of the West. First he meets Jory as Judge Roy Bean, who is depicted as a drunken sentimentalist. He later runs into Audie Murphy, in his last screen role, as Jesse James, who stops the boy long enough to give him some much needed advice. Though A TIME FOR DYING is loaded with violence, it
takes a decidedly humanistic approach toward the western genre, showing a kid seeking to become a hero before he has learned anything about how the world works.
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