The Dangerous Days of Kiowa Jones

This 1966 western stars Robert Horton as Kiowa Jones, with Sal Mineo, Nehimiah Persoff, and Diane Baker. The title song was sung by Hank Williams, Jr. and the movie was directed by Alex March. 

Cowboy drifter Jones (Horton) encounters a deathly ill U.S. Marshal escorting two prisoners to Fort Smith, KS to be hanged.  Before he dies, the Marshall deputizes Jones and makes him swear he'll bring the prisoners in. While 'the Gypsy' (Persoff) is wanted only for killing his wife and appears rather stoic about his fate, young Bobby Jack Wilkes (Mineo) is wanted for killing at least twenty men. Though there is a reward of $1000 on his head, Bobby has let it be known that he will pay $2000 to the man who kills the Marshal and sets him free. When Bobby offers the $2000 to Jones to set him free, Jones tells him, "Money just don't itch that hard with me boy." With half the bounty hunters in the territory after them, they set out for the fort. 

In an escape attempt, Bobby's horse falls and must be put down, leaving them one horse short. When they are attacked by bounty hunters after the $2000 reward, they race to a gully and in the process the Gypsy breaks his leg. Shots from an approaching wagon temporarily chase the bounty hunters away. Miss Amilia Rathmore (Baker) was traveling to a nearby Indian reservation to teach when she heard the gunfire. She sets the Gypsy's leg and then sets out on her way again. No sooner does she leave than the bounty hunters return. This time Jones kills two of them, and it doesn't set well with him. 
Amilia returns, to offer her wagon to transport the injured Gypsy. While they have no problems when they encounter a band of Indians, later that evening the camp is attacked by two brothers, who are not after the reward. They want Bobby, but to kill him!
Bobby had killed their third brother, and they have vowed revenge. They tie up Jones, and one brother leaves to go get their father so they can all be present when they lynch Bobby. With the help of the Gypsy, Jones manages to get free. When the other brother and their father return, Jones kills the old man in the ensuing gunfight, . 
Sickened by the senseless killing for the likes of someone as vile as Bobby, Jones swears he will never kill anyone ever again just to save Bobby for the hangman. Any bounty hunter that wants him can have him. And with that Jones rides out.
Jones returns to camp later that evening, still saddened and sickened by the killing, but unable to ignore his responsibility and his promise to the dead marshal, and unable to leave Amilia. They are joined in the camp by the hangman, who is also traveling to the fort.

When a bad storm comes in, Bobby decides to try to make a break for it. However, he needs the keys to the handcuffs and threatens to shoot Amilia unless Jones turns them over. Again the Gypsy comes to the rescue by throwing a lantern at Bobby, giving Jones the opportunity to jump Bobby and disarm him. Amilia is thrilled that Jones is not hurt, but Jones is upset to find that the Gypsy had been killed by Bobby and promises him he will watch him hang.

As the new day dawns, the wagon is finally in site of  Fort Smith. In spite of Amilia's pleading that Jones take the reward for bringing Bobby in, he refuses. He does however, tell her about land available in Oklahoma and finally he proposes marriage!

Again, this film explores what happens when an ordinary person finds himself confronted with an extraordinary circumstance and is forced to kill to protect a murderer. Mr. Horton portrays Kiowa Jones as the 'everyday' cowboy, caught in a situation beyond his control, to perfection. While the movie has plenty of action, it also makes you stop and think: What would you do?

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