A Hiccup in the History of Hickok
With the Confederate army in need of horses, legendary horseman Bill Hickok wants the contract all to himself and sets about stopping other horse traders by sabotaging them even if it puts the army at risk when they don't have enough fresh horses. Veteran soldier Johnny Rebel (Johnny Carpenter) comes to the rescue, bringing in fresh horses for the Cavalry which puts him on a deadly path with a confrontation with Hickok on the cards.
I wonder who came up with the idea of making the legendary lawman Bill Hickok a scheming bad guy who uses his position of power as a lawman as a front for his dirty side. I also wonder what the studio must have thought when presented with the idea as I am sure they must have considered whether audiences would accept the idea. I don't know whether audiences did or didn't but considering I don't know many other westerns which turn good guys in to bad guys I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't take to this one.
The thing is that the whole rewriting of a character is this movie's USP as belong Hickok being a bad guy "I Killed Wild Bill Hickok" is routine with a devious businessman monopolising things and being dirty when it comes to getting what they want. The one thing which kind of takes me a back about "I Killed Wild Bill Hickok" is that considering this was made in 1956 it has the feel of something from the 1930s which adds to my doubts as to whether audiences took to it back in the 50s.
What this all boils down to is that once you get beyond the USP of Hickok being a bad guy in "I Killed Wild Bill Hickok" the rest of the movie is pretty typical, well typical of a western from two decades earlier.