In 1875, in Arizona Territory, rancher John Rutherford plans to forcibly evict all squatters from his lands. The rancher welcomes his son Roy who has just returned home from England. He also hires a group of mercenaries to assist him in evicting squatters from his property. These hired goons and cutthroats are paid 500 dollars each. Their foreman is Hook who owes his nickname to the hook that replaced his missing right hand. Rutherford has also brought along his bookkeeper, Mr. Avery, to pay the men. During the Civil War, Mr. Avery avoided the draft, due to his bad health but he proudly wears a Confederate officer's uniform. On Rutherford's lands there is one remaining unfriendly squatter, Corey Everett, who stubbornly refuses to leave. His shack is at the deep end of a boxed canyon. Corey Everett has transformed his shack into a reinforced fortress. He dug a water well near his shack and this can help him outlast any siege, since there is no other source of water for 200 miles around... Written by
The Marauders is directed by Gerald Mayer and adapted to screenplay by Earl Fenton and Jack Leonard from the novel written by Alan Marcus. It stars Dan Duryea, Jeff Richards, Keenan Wynn, Jarma Lewis, John Hudson and Harry Shannon. Music is by Paul Sawtell and Eastman Color cinematography is by Harold Marzorati.
Arizona Territory, 1875 and Richards plays Corey Everett, a rancher who fights back when a greedy land baron rounds up a group of ragamuffins to extract him from the property.
There's obviously not a lot of production value on show and some of the acting is eyebrow raising for the wrong reasons, yet this is an entertaining romp of a Western.
The siege set up is made interesting by the location, which is a small ranch with a water well backed up against a mountain, and the fact that it will ultimately be one man, one woman and one child against a whole gang. As the gang come to be led by Duryea's clearly unhinged Avery, they find Everett a most resourceful foe. With cunning tactics of war, including the manufacture of a grenade launcher, there's a fascinating battle between brains and brawn.
Extra bite comes from the respective character dynamics at work in the two camps. In the Everett ranch a turn of events offers up a neat twist that scores high for dramatic impact, while in the Avery camp his General Bastardo/Napolean Complex has the men under his charge thirsting for his blood. There is very much more than one battle being staged here, more so as water becomes the integral commodity of proceedings.
Sawtell provides a dramatic musical score and the Mecca, California locale is well used by Mayer and Marzorati for claustrophobic and sweaty peril purpose. Characterisations are colourful, especially Duryea on overdrive villainy and Wynn as the hook handed second in command who finds himself caught between loyalty and fear. It's classic B Western stuff and firmly of interest to fans of such productions. 7.5/10
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