At this stage in his career, Sergio Leone (temporarily) abandons directing and embarks on a career as a producer. He has in mind a light-hearted western with a sprinkling of breezy French sentimentalism (à la Jules et Jim). For a director, he chooses Damiano Damiani, fresh from the wonderful western Quien sabe?. For his leads, he calls upon Terence Hill, a major star of Italian cinema at the time, and the delightful Miou-Miou as his female companion. Even Ennio Morricone – who else – comes on board. Production went through some difficult moments: in fact, some of the scenes were shot by Leone himself, others by Giuliano Montaldo. However, the resulting film remains a remarkable example of an enjoyable comedy western, which over time has revealed an initially unobserved richness. The exteriors for some sequences were shot in the famous Monument Valley, beloved by both John Ford and Sergio Leone.
With the help of Locomotive Bill and his friend Lucy, gunslinger Joe Thanks (the “genius” of the title) pulls off a complicated con at the expense of an arrogant official, with the intention of returning money illegally taken from some Indians.