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Young Guns II (1990, Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland)



Young Guns II is the 48th film to be made about the legend of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and the New Yorker called it ‘a sensationally well-made western.’ The story kicks off in 1950, as a nonogenarian tries to persuade a sceptical journalist that he is William H Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, by recounting how he escaped death at the hands of his former friend turned sheriff, Pat Garrett.

His story begins where the first Young Guns left off, with Billy (Emilio Estevez) and his band of outlaws, the Regulators, dispersing after a bloody gunfight during the Lincoln County War in 1878. But now, Billy, Josiah ‘Doc’ Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) have reunited and the gang’s running wild again. The men have been joined by the Kid’s pal, crazy Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh (Christian Slater), a 14-year-old orphan named Tom O’Folliard (Balthazar Getty) and a soft-spoken farmer, Hendry William French (Alan Ruck).

But the West has changed since The Regulators last rode through the blue mountains and limestone canyons of New Mexico Territory. The Kid is cornered by the ruthless cattle kings – led by John Chisum (James Coburn) – double-crossed by corrupt government officials and fenced in by the new settlers clamouring for statehood. Worse still, the powers that be have hired a new sheriff, Billy’s former sidekick, Pat Garrett (William Petersen), and he isn’t about to give The Regulators an easy ride into the sanctuary of Mexico.

Young Guns II is of that rare breed, a sequel that betters its original. As writer John Fusco, cinematographer Dean Semler and the three Brat Pack leads, Estevez, Sutherland and Phillips, were all involved in the first film, one can only deduce that the improvement is down to Geoff Murphy, who takes over the director’s chair from Christopher Cain.

production details
USA | 132 minutes | 1990

Director: Geoff Murphy
Script: John Fusco,

Emilio Estevez as William H. ‘Billy the Kid’ Bonney
Kiefer Sutherland as Josiah Gordon ‘Doc’ Scurlock
Lou Diamond Phillips as Jose Chavez y Chavez
Christian Slater as Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh
William Petersen as Patrick Floyd ‘Pat’ Garrett
Alan Ruck as Hendry William French
R. D. Call as D.A. Rynerson
Balthazar Getty as Tom O’Folliard
Jack Kehoe as Ashmun Upson
Robert Knepper as Deputy Carlyle
Tom Kurlander as J.W. Bell
Viggo Mortensen as John W. Poe
Leon Rippy as Robert ‘Bob’ Ollinger
Tracey Walter as Beever Smith
Bradley Whitford as Charles Phalen
Scott Wilson as Governor Lewis Wallace
James Coburn as John Simpson Chisum
Jenny Wright as Jane Greathouse
Mickie McGowan as Additional Dialogue Replacement (voice)
Michael Eiland as Shop Keeper