Funny--but not that funny--western spoof. Fonda employs over-the-hill gunslinger Marvin after his outlaw brother (Marvin again) kills her rancher father. Film is amusing largely due to Marvin's dual hilarity, for which he won an Oscar. It was the beginning of a whole new career as a versatile, middle-aged leading man who could handle drama or comedy with equal finesse. Following several misfires, BALLOU consolidated Fonda's early stardom; while hardly complex, her transformation from prim schoolmarm to sexy gunslinger is utterly charming. Additional diversion is provided by Nat King Cole (in his last film role) and Stubby Kaye, who, as wandering troubadors, break up the screenplay's occasional tedium.