A gunslinger asks his intended victim his name. He answers, but not before surprising his would be killer by shooting first. Then he informs him “My name is Pecos” before riding off on the man’s horse.
The town of Houston and the few inhabitants that remain there are under the control of Kline (Pier Paolo Capponi, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, The Cat o’ Nine Tails) and his gang. They just stole $80,000 only to be double crossed by one of their own who has hidden it somewhere in the town. Pecos (Robert Woods, Pray to God and Dig Your Grave, Interstellar Wars) rides into town and almost immediately two of Kline’s men find out the hard way not to mess with him. It’s no coincidence that he’s here, he knows about the money. And more importantly he’s here to avenge his family who were murdered by Kline.
The first thing you notice about My Name is Pecos (2 Once di Piombo), is Pecos himself. In a flip of the usual plot the film features a Mexican gunman fighting white American bandits. This led to it becoming very successful in many so called Third World countries where they were probably sick of seeing blonde, blue eyed heroes killing people who looked like them.
Granted, the makeup and taped up eyes used to make the Colorado born Woods look Mexican make him look closer to Asian at times. But in 1966 having a Mexican hero was rare, and the plot has a distinctly anti racist message. Also remember, even in Hollywood, Mexicans, Native Americans, etc. were still routinely played by white performers in makeup of various quality. Judged by the standards of its time, rather than ours, the casting of My Name is Pecos was normal. It was the plot that was unusual.
Politics and social issues aside, is My Name is Pecos a good Western? Director Maurizio Lucidi (Hercules the Avenger, Stateline Motel) and writer Adriano Bolzoni (A Fistful of Dollars, The Humanoid) put together a solid, if unremarkable, revenge plot. Then they added some nicely dark humour such as the body of one of Peco’s victims hitting the floor and causing the needle on a gramophone to drop. It, of course, starts playing “La Cucaracha”.
More importantly, they populated My Name is Pecos with some interesting characters such as Nina (Cristina Iosani, Navajo Joe) a Mexican barmaid who helps Pecos and Morton (Umberto Raho, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) the town’s pastor/undertaker who is aptly compared to a vulture at more than one point. While not a memorable character, watch for Italian exploitation star George Eastman (Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead) in his second role, as one of Kline’s goons.
The action moves along at a good pace until we get to the final showdown. Pecos, with some help from Nina as well as Burton (Giuliano Raffaelli, Blood and Black Lace, Snow Devils), a doctor who had his hands broken by Kline, and Burton’s daughter Mary (Lucia Modugno, The Evil Eye, Danger: Diabolik) takes on what’s left of Kline’s gang. “All you’ve got is a man who can’t use his hands and two women.” as Burton puts it.
The showdown is an exciting enough piece of action although I think several of the villains, especially Kline, die way too quickly. Among the various atrocities they’re guilty of besides the murder of Pecos’s family, we see them shoot a young boy who tries to stop them raping his sister. I wanted to see them suffer.
My Name is Pecos will be available on Arrow Video’s streaming service on July 12th along with Massacre Time. Both films, along with And God Said to Cain and Bandidos will be part of the limited edition Blu Ray box set Vengeance Trails. You can check Arrow’s website, the streaming service website or Arrow’s Facebook page for details.
Unfortunately, the only trailer for My Name is Pecos that I could find was in Italian without subtitles, but it should still give you an idea of what to expect. Arrow’s print is in Italian but with subtitles.