Director Franco Rosetti's low-budgeted "The Dirty Outlaws" ranks as a marginal, below-average entry in the Spaghetti western genre that contains little to distinguish it, even "A Man Called Sledge" composer Gianna Ferrio's inferior score fails to enhance the action. Oscar nominated "Life Is Beautiful" scenarist Vincenzo Cerami, "A Bullet for Sandoval" writer Ugo Guerra, producer Elio Scardamaglia and Rosettiyes, a quartet of scribespenned the mediocre screenplay about amoral gunslinger Steve a.k.a. 'El Desperado' who masquerades as a blind man's son home from the Civil War to steal $75-thousand from his sight-impaired patriarch. Incidentally, Steve wears Confederate gray. Indeed, all the soldiers in "The Dirty Outlaws" are Confederate troops. This is the sole distinction that "The Dirty Outlaws" has going for it because there isn't a worthwhile character in the action. The anti-heroic hero that Andrea Giordana incarnates begins as a thoroughly evil dastard and reaches the point at fade-out where he has "to come to terms with himself" and leaves the heroine with the blind man's money while he rides off into the desert after wiping out the antagonists. Otherwise, "The Dirty Outlaws" lives up to its title. Life is cheap, death is plentiful, and revenge is sweet in this horse opera.
"The Dirty Outlaws" opens with a modicum of promise. A crowd of townspeople are about to hang our anti-heroic hero Steve (Andrea Giordana of "Taste of Death") when a man in black, the Preacher (Aldo Berti of "A Stranger in Town"), intervenes. The decent townspeople leave the noose around Steve's neck but untie his hands so that he can have his last wish and read from the Bible. The Preacher's Bible, however, resembles the Bible that the villainous sky pilot in "Five Card Stud" toted because hollowed out in scripture is a revolver. Steve snatches it and guns down everybody. The Preacher and Steve high-tail it under a Confederate patrol passing nearby requests Steve to join them so he can succor to some dying soldiers. Steve rides along by himself. While he is camped on the banks of a river, a blood-splattered Confederate soldier appears. Steve cannot save his life and all the dying wretch wants is to be sure that his father has the $75-thousand in gold that he left him with to buy a ranch. After the soldier dies, unscrupulous Steve appropriates the man's apparel and rides to the ghost town of Overton where blind man Sam (Piero Lulli of "My Name is Nobody") lives with a pretty young virgin Katy (Rosemarie Dexter of "For A Few Dollars More." Dexter played the girl in the Leone western that kills herself after El Indio shoots her husband.
Meanwhile, two Confederate troops ride into the ghost of Overton. Incidentally, everybody but Sam and Katy fled from Overton after a cholera epidemic struck the town. Scenarist Ugo Guerra appropriated this idea for Julian Buchs & Lucio Fulci's "A Bullet for Sandoval." By the way, "A Bullet for Sandoval" is no great shakes for a Spaghetti western, but it surpasses this bland bullet opera. These Confederates are in town awaiting another patrol with gold. You get the sneaky suspicion that everybody here was borrowing plot threads from Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" and/or Luigi Vance's "A Stranger in Town" a.k.a. "A Dollar between the Teeth" about American troops bringing gold to a ghost town. However, in "The Dirty Outlaws," they aren't loaning the money to Mexico. The Confederate payroll escort is only supposed to pass through Overton. Asher (Franco Giornelli of "A Man Called Sledge") and his six-gunning gang ride into Overton and capture the soldiers and try to beat the truth out of them. Later, they discover Steve, and Katy learns to her chagrin that Steve is not Sam's son Bill but an impostor. She learns about his true identity because a women with Asher's gang, Lucy (Dania Ghia of "Trinity Is Still My Name"), recognizes her. Lucy is the fallen woman, while Katy is the virgin. Naturally, since women have very little use in most Spaghetti westerns, neither Lucy nor Katy exerts much influence on the narrative. Neither of them is molested. Predictably, Asher's gang beats up Steve, kills Sam, and rides out with the gold. The one-sided fistfight in the muddy streets of Overton make "The Dirty Outlaws" look slightly like a "Django" western, but everything else happens on the dusty plains of Spain where most Sergio Leone sagebrushers were lensed. You never see any snow capped peaks in "The Dirty Outlaws." Steve sets out to track down Asher and his vicious gang and wreck vengeance on them for killing Sam in cold blood. Not-surprisingly, he finds them and forces Asher into a gunfight in a soggy street with mud in his eyes so that he is as sight-impaired as Sam was before Steve blows holes in him. Some of the better things about this minor Spaghetti are (1) the book-end opening and closing scenes where the Preacher helps Steve and Steve helps the Preacher-now masquerading as a judge, (2) Asher's death and its resemblance to Bill's murder, (3) Steve's self-imposed exile in the desert. "The Dirty Outlaws" duplicates the usual qualities of a Spaghetti western: people living on the fringe of society or in distant towns. There is a standard Hollywood style saloon brawl that Steve uses to kill one of Asher's gang. The way that Steve finishes off the rest of the gang is not memorable. Indeed, little is memorable in this one-dimensional western. The bad guys don't beat up the anti-heroic hero as severely as the villains did Clint Eastwood in "A Fistful of Dollars." Asher isn't a remarkable villain, though he does try to catch Steve with his guard down during the final gunfight. The copy of "The Dirty Outlaws" that I saw was the widescreen, Wild East release. I'm surprised that they didn't put it on a double-bill with another forgettable Italian oater. Simply said, "The Dirty Outlaws" lacks spice!