The California Kid (1974)

A Universal and NBC-TV co-production starring Nick Nolte, Martin Sheen and Vic Morrow?

And there’s a car . . . with chases that rival 1968’s Bullit?

I’m all in. Gentlemen (and Ladies) start your VCRs!

The Sheriff Roy Childress (a bastardly-cool Vic Morrow) makes bank on how much the local judge can fine the unsuspecting visitors who go over the posted speed limit — even by 5 miles per hour. And those speedsters stupid enough that try to outrun ol’ Roy, well he just runs them off the road — over an errant cliff — if they attempt to make the state border. And it’s just not greed, but revenge: his wife and daughter were killed by a speeder. And all speeders must pay — or die if they don’t.

One of those victims is Michael McCord’s (Martin Sheen) brother who rides into town like a “man with no name” behind the wheel of a 1934 Ford Coupe hot rod. Another victim was the brother of Buzz Stafford (Nick Nolte), the local town mechanic. Along with the local waitress-cum-love interest (Michelle Phillips), they’re going to take down Childress and reform the corrupt town.

Director Richard T. Heflon worked his way up from directing episodes of Banacek (with George Peppard of Battle Beyond the Stars fame) and The Rockford Files, along with the forgotten (but cool) ’70s TV movies Locusts and Death Scream, to theatrical features with Future World and Outlaw Blues with Peter Fonda (Easy Rider).

You can watch this on You Tube. Do it. It’s the best 70-minutes you’ll ever spend in your life. Awesome!

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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