As was the fashion at the time, the film appeared in English language markets under a number of titles. Two others were AND THEN A TIME FOR KILLING and TIME AND PLACE FOR KILLING. Those two were for American audiences and the title I use was the English.
Anthony Ghidra(Antonio) was a Yunoslavian actor, real name Dragomir Gidra Bojanic, made five spaghetti westerns over a two year period. I believe this was his best job, bringing off the role of Sheriff Joe Donnell to a tee. He plays the alcoholic lawman without a bit of slapstick and one comes quickly to a feeling of sympathy for him. Once a feared gunman, some incident in his past turned him into the shell we see, known as Tequila Joe to the townspeople because of the copious amounts of the liquor he consumes every day. But as usual, that sort of thing never works. As the film progresses, we learn the cause.
His little town is beset by two gangs vying for control. The leaders are a cattle baron, Rock Mulligan(Mimmo Palmara, billed as Dick Palmer) and Manuel Trianas(Furio Meniconi). Tequila Joe spends all his time staying out of their way.
Into this rides a young man, Burt(Jean Sobiski), a deputy sent to help calm the town. A visit to the jail finds a dusty cobwebby place filled with empty liquor bottles. He spies a rifle with a plaque on the butt, an award for sharpshooting.
Threats to send for Federal troops does no good, only seeming to exacerbate the situation. Trianas has Mulligan’s daughter(Eleanor Ruffo) kidnapped. They seem to know each other as she falls readily into Trianas’ arms for a bit of lovemaking. But he turns her over to his men and, though it’s not shown, gang rape is implied. Then she’s sent home to daddy.
More than just a sheriff/deputy relationship between Joe and Burt becomes obvious. Joe doesn’t want to talk about what’s bothering him and all Burt says is his father was the best shot in Texas and he wanted to be better, finishing what father couldn’t. It was obvious to me very early
Thoughts on this film seem divided. One review called it average, another, while it had it’s problems, said it superior.
I liked it.