In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the US, a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries and scouts.
Aging ex-marshal Steve Judd is hired by a bank to transport a gold shipment through dangerous territory. He hires an old partner, Gil Westrum, and his young protege Heck to assist him. Steve doesn't know, however, that Gil and Heck plan to steal the gold, with or without Steve's help. On the trail, the three get involved in a young woman's desire to escape first from her father, then from her fiance and his dangerously psychotic brothers. Written by
James Meek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sam Peckinpah's first realized film and arguably still his best.
How the AFI missed this as one the Top 100 Movies, I'll never know. In a film career of peaks and valleys, I think this is STILL Peckinpah's best work. It contains all of the themes from the Wild Bunch, Cable Hogue and Junior Bonner, and while it does not possess the depth or complexity of the Wild Bunch, in some ways it works even better. Every character rings true, the photography is superb, and the writing matches that. Just a great, great film, and without the violence, and sometime- bitterness associated with Peckinpah's works. It is Randolph Scott's last film, and Mariette Hartley's first. He is riveting, and she is charming.
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