A PISTOL FOR RINGO is a 1965 spaghetti western that starred Giuliano Gemma(billed as Montgomery Wood) in the title role. Early on, he seems a fearsome sort as people talk about him being found not guilty of murder in a trial. “Self defense!” “With Ringo, it’s always self defense!”
His nickname is Angel Face and when the four Monroe brothers, siblings of the “self defense” victim, go after him, the sheriff rushes along to stop it. Not worried about Ringo, but the four brothers.
As I said, a fearsome reputation.
When we first see Ringo, though, he’s playing hopscotch with children, a fresh faced, handsome young man. When the Monroes find him, he shoos the children away before revealing that he’s Angel Face. Of course, he gets them all just as the sheriff rides up and is arrested, held for trial. Formalities, you know.
It’s a couple of days before Christmas when a bandit gang led by Sancho and Dolores ride into town to hit the bank. Dolores’ job is to keep the sheriff distracted with a tale of murder in her family.
In the ensuing shooting as they get away, Sancho is wounded by the sheriff which slows their border run from the large posse after them. The gang grabs the first ranch they come to, a heavily fortified fortress occupied by the sheriff’s fiance, her father, and a bunch of servants, all held hostage.
Ringo strikes a deal to go in, unarmed, to rescue the hostages and the money, thirty percent. After all, Dolores has seen him locked up. Chased by the sheriff, under fire, Ringo worms his way into their confidence. He has to come up with a plan to save everyone before the army arrives in a couple of days to storm the ranch. The bank president cares for nothing but the money.
There’s a lot of maneuvering, smooth talking from Ringo, cross and double cross, with dynamite involved, to separate the hostages from the bandits. The title comes from Ringo’s desire to find a weapon to defend himself and the others. Unknown to the bandits, there is a pistol hidden in the house(all other weapons had been confiscated by Sancho) and even Ringo doesn’t know of it at first because the fiance and father aren’t sure whose side he’s really on.
A nice satisfying western with a good score by Ennio Morricone. Gemma appeared in a lot of these westerns and managed to survive their demise, still working in Italian television today at age seventy.