This film had two different titles in U.S. release. The DVD I own has it as SUNDANCE CASSIDY AND BUTCH THE KID, which makes no sense whatsoever. Neither main character has those names. None is ever used in the film. The answer lies in that OTHER western movie released the same year. It’s called riding the coattails.
Brothers Monty(Giuliano Gemma) and Ted(Nino Benvenuti) Mulligan have an uncle, their mother’s brother, die and leave them $300,000. There is a problem though. A codicil put into the will requires them to live together six months before they can get it. The idea is to promote familial love. You see, the two brothers don’t like each other and hadn’t even seen each other in many years. Monty didn’t even know where his brother was. And didn’t care. That’s basically the plot, the only plot, to this comedy western.
Monty has his own problems. The early part of the movie is set in the big city, never named but likely New York. We see him dressed to the nines coming from his club, liberally handing out money to the poor as he strolls along, dealing with four hoodlums that try to rob him, living in a large mansion with a servant. it’s all a lie though. Monty likes to gamble and is not very good at it. He’s grabbed by the McIntosh brothers, four bearded gentlemen, that he’d borrowed $10,000 from and lost it. With ussary, the sum had grown to $40,000. They are about to hang him in his own mansion when a lawyer arrives to inform him about his uncle’s death and the terms of the will. They’ve even located his brother.
Monty heads west in his steam-powered motor car where his brother has a farm. Along the way, he picks up a gentleman, Barnes, a gambler on a run of bad luck and gets into a poker game with him. As a result, he soon doesn’t own his car anymore and Barnes drops him off at his brother’s place. Ted isn’t happy to see him, especially when he insults the local bad boy, Bad Jim(Chris Huerta), who stopped by to take a couple of horses and drives them away with his gun.
The movie then descends into a series of scenes where the cabin gets burned down while fighting the bad boy’s men, the boys try their hand at bank robbery, teaming up with Barnes, then stagecoach robbery(which goes especially bad). The coach is heavily laden, but the only passenger aboard is the beautiful Rossella Scott(Sydne Rome), the banker’s daughter heading home from her latest shopping trip. The only thing aboard is case after case of new clothes, everything from dresses to undergarments.
And Rossella is thrilled to be involved in a stagecoach robbery, a new adventure to her. When they learn who her father is, they decide kidnapping is the way to go. Rossella writes the letter and is insulted when they only ask for a thousand dollars. “Ten at the least” and she gets thirty percent. Barnes was to pretend to be a go-between and took the letter to daddy. But daddy isn’t real co-operative. He wants a vacation from Rossella and so the weeks go by. Barnes and the banker get quite friendly and after three weeks, the banker asks how much for another month, an extra $10,000.
Not a great movie, but I enjoyed it more than some folks.
It was supposed to make a star out of Nino Benvenuti, a well known boxer in Italy. It failed miserably and he made only one other movie. Gemma was selected to star opposite him because he’d did some boxing in his military days, In fact, the pair compared notes and realized they’d actually spared once while both were in the service. They became lifelong friends. Benvenuti’s boxing skills were actually a hindrance in making this movie. He had to learn to fight movie style, slower punches and such so that he didn’t kill anybody.