A band of Mexicans – led by the charismatic Luis Chama (John Saxon), spouting revolutionary rhetoric and demanding land reform – find their ancestral claims to land granted to them by the king of Spain denied in the American southwest at the turn of the 20th century.
They turn to force-of-arms and destroy all land records at the local courthouse.
Frank Harlan (Robert Duvall) – a wealthy landowner with interests in the disputed area – decides to settle things his own way and hires a band of killers. Harlan wants former gunman, bounty hunter and all-around tough guy Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood) to help track Chama.
Kidd initially wants to avoid involvement until Chama makes the mistake of stealing Kidd’s horses and terrorising his friends.
But Kidd changes his tune when Harlan and company ride into a pueblo and have the local priest (Pepe Hern) summon all the villagers, announcing they will shoot five people if the locals don’t surrender Chama.
Harlan anticipates Kidd’s change of heart by taking his gun and locking him up – but that’s not going to stop Joe Kidd.
While the film received a mixed reception from critics, it returned $5.8 million in domestic rentals, making it one of the highest-grossing Westerns of the year.
Sheriff Bob Mitchell
Dick Van Patten
Michael R Horst