The film was one of the many “oaters” Murphy starred in. He was good. Actually, he was great from my viewpoint; the man could really ride. And he was outstanding when he was playing a charming, devil-may-care delinquent. As Billy the Kid of course, and then – later – in a highly underrated film co-starring James Stewart as his older brother; “Night Passage”.
The Outlaw Billy Starbuck morphed from those two characters. Audie as Billy the Kid, and in his later incarnation as Jimmy Stewart’s train robber brother, Lee McClaine, the Utica Kid.
Murphy’s characters in both of those films died. I wasn’t happy about that; so in “The Outlaw, Billy Starbuck” I decided to rectify those glaring theatrical errors. Billy Starbuck was going to have a chance for redemption.
When Will Simpson decides to turn outlaw, he does it up right! Robbing trains will bring him the fame and wealth he craves—and will also ensure he’ll end up with the girl he loves. But his first train robbery goes awry and he makes a lifelong enemy of payroll guard Kyle Lassiter, who loses his arm in the heist.
THE OUTLAW, BILLY STARBUCK, as Will calls himself now, turns his attention to the stage lines and the payrolls they carry. But he’s met his match with expert stagecoach driver Simon Tyree, who is determined to deliver the payroll—along with some unexpected passengers—to safety, come hell or high water.
In a twist of fate, Billy Starbuck realizes he must join with Tyree to keep himself and the woman he loves alive when his old nemesis forces him to show his hand. But will his decision come too late? When vengeance comes calling, will Simon Tyree protect THE OUTLAW, BILLY STARBUCK…
“I’ll drive, old man,” he announced, reaching for the reins. In his mind’s eye, he could already see himself as the greatest stage driver in the territory.
“Not hardly,” Tyree laughed, refusing to let go of the ribbons. “You’ve got a lot to learn before I turn you loose with one of my wagons!”
The younger man was unperturbed. The vision of his new name loomed before him again, in print this time, on the cover of Ned Buntline’s magazine and Beadle’s dime novels ... and Harpers Weekly! “I’m going to write,” he announced suddenly. “For Buntline and Harpers!” The sudden change in professions—from outlaw, to stage driver, to writer—didn’t bother him. He had time, lots of time. And when he was old, really old, like Tyree, he would write a book.
“Billy Starbuck,” he said aloud, ducking when Tyree took a swing at his head. “I’ll write all about the true adventures of Billy Starbuck and how he stole from the rich to give to the poor!”
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