A murderous thief on the run with stolen loot forces a poor rancher to guide him across the desert into Mexico. Accompanying them is the rancher's wife, who happens to be the killer's former girlfriend.
With the decline of musicals for Gene Nelson and Kent Taylor never being in the top tier of leading men these guys were scrambling for work as television arrives. The Purple Hills is what they settled for.
Gene Nelson is in the same business with the same motivation as James Stewart in The Naked Spur, an amateur bounty hunter who's thinking the $8000.00 on the hide of a certain outlaw will set him up nicely for life. Unlike Stewart he doesn't have anything against this guy the way Stewart had a grudge against Robert Ryan.
But Kent Taylor who was a member of the deceased's gang races to town to collect the reward. Add to that Jerry Summers who is the deceased's brother accompanied by his 'nanny' Joanna Barnes looking to gun the one who did do it. The relationship between Barnes and Summers is weird to say the least. But westerns were becoming allegedly adult at this time.
With deputy Russ Bender along to arbitrate they all set out to where the body is buried. But the Apaches are out as well and for reasons not explained they liked the deceased white guy.
The Purple Hills shot outdoors in Arizona is definitely a shoestring budget western with a rather unbelievable plot and a whole cast that looks like it's just going through the motions.
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