Bobbie Jo Baker (Lynda Carter) is stuck in a small Texas town and wants to break free, hit the road and follow her dreams of being a country western singer. Her opportunity comes when she meets criminal Lyle Wheeler (Marjoe Gortner).
Immediately sparks fly between them and crimes start to mount up, as the two become a modern day Bonnie and Clyde. These two young lovers hold out hope for a bright life together, but the victims they leave in their wake and with the persistence of the police to stop them, it starts to become clear there won’t be much of a future for them.
Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw was made by American-International Pictures. During the 1970s, AIP specialized in making low-budget genre films targeted to teens that would become fixtures at drive-ins across the country. If you saw a low-budget blaxploitation, kung fu or gangster film at a drive-in at this time, there’s a pretty good chance it was made by AIP.
It’s a low grade crime spree drama, clearly inspired by the more revered Bonnie and Clyde. It’s the like the low-rent, trashy knock-off of it.
There’s really little to it. Other than the shoot outs with bright bloody 70s squibs and car crashes that would please Hal Needham, it was probably a kick to see for teens in 1976 and for fans of low grade exploitation films from that era, the movie probably will hit the mark. For others, I’m not too sure there is much here worth your time.
The film has become something of a curiosity for the sole casting of Lynda Carter, who would star in the T.V. show Wonder Woman a year later.
She is breathtaking beautiful in the movie and yes – Carter does appear topless in several scenes. Fans of Carter and star nudity will no doubt want to see at least those scenes. I’m sure the Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw section on Mr. Skin gets regular visitors.
Other than Carter going au natural and some of the chases and shootouts, there’s really not much to say. Carter certainly has her beauty and a charm. She even gets to sing and even watching it decades later knowing this is before she became an iconic television star, you can see she has a star quality.
Her leading man Gortner, well not so much. He’s rather bland as this wild and free-loving Billy the Kid-type of outlaw. He doesn’t have much charisma and it’s difficult to see why Bobbie Jo would fall for this guy so hard. It’s no surprise between the two actors who would leave more of an impact with audiences.
It also doesn’t help that both the characters are rather shallow and really not very nice. There’s no ‘Robin Hood-esque’ behavior from the two that would make you want to cheer for them. The backstories of Bobbie Jo and Lyle don’t make them any more sympathetic and we’re given no real dramatic reason why Bobbie Jo would choose this fugitive lifestyle over the one she was supposedly trapped in.
So, we’re left watching these two rob people, shoot people and not feel too bad about it and them trying to escape from the encroaching police. That cycle just repeats over and over again. None of those scenes are particularly well done or very memorable and all just start to blur together. There’s one scene of the pair eating psychedelic mushroom and go on a trip. It’s rather a bizarre scene.
I imagine there’s meant to be anti-establishment message buried somewhere in this, but if it’s there it doesn’t make any impact. The only reason I’m assuming there is meant to be one is because Bobbie Jo is such a cheap knock off of Bonnie and Clyde. For a piece of shallow 1970s piece of trash cinema it might’ve entertained teens on a lazy Saturday night, but I think that was its lifespan. Without Carter’s appearance in this, I doubt it would even be remembered today.
If your a fan of Carter and want to see the ‘naughty bits’ that you always dreamed of seeing, just watch some clips or look at some stills. There’s not a whole lot more to recommend to sit through the whole movie.
Here’s Lynda singing in Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw