Ex-Bounty Hunter Joe Kidd is in jail. His opportunity for freedom comes when Frank Harlan wants to hire him to take out the revolutionary leader Luis Chuma. Reluctant at first, when he learns Chuma has raided his ranch (and hurt a worker), Kidd joins up.
Kidd vows to bring Chuma to actual justice, rather than to a lynch mob, putting him at odds with Harlan.
While Kidd is not a mysterious character, Joe Kidd leans more towards the violent tough guy of Eastwood’s western persona. Joe is a guy who would be happy to be neutral, and it really takes Chuma crossing a personal line. But his willingness to avoid violent revenge makes him stand out a bit in the westerns of Eastwood.
Written by Elmore Leonard, Joe Kidd is a good western, though not quite as distinctive as some of the westerns that Eastwood had yet to come.