In Old West mythology–and not, perhaps, in the actual Old West—it is necessary for a greenhorn to learn how to shoot a gun. The greenhorn in Hannie Caulder (1971) is a woman (Raquel Welch’s Hannie Caulder) who is expertly taught by a bounty hunter played by Robert Culp. This goes on after Beauty meets the beasts: Hannie’s husband is murdered by three wicked thieves who in turn rape her and burn down her house. Hence a revenge story gets underway.
The gun fights are riveting, even if Burt Kennedy’s film is highly imperfect, including directorially. But, although Raquel is too much the nonactress, she is so easy on the eyes it is almost uncanny. The characters are not exactly bland, and there is even a man of sheer mystery thrown in. Re Westerns, in ’71 ’tweren’t dead yet: Hannie Caulder has a real vitality.