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Viktor de Kowa
Pedro Ortiz (Mario Adorf) is released from prison and returns soon to free a young man called Carlos (Thomas Fritsch). Together with Jose (Klaus Kinski) and Fernando (Sieghardt Rupp), they start a new gang for bank robbery and the usual things bandits do. They take Ortiz' friend Juanita (Marisa Mell) and the servile piano player Woody (Walter Giller) with them. When former sheriff Kelly (Edmund Purdom) follows them, they take his wife Liz (Marianne Koch) and his young son for hostages. During the perilous journey to Mexico, the group is reduced one by one, while Ortiz' has delusions of grandeur, looking for a hidden treasure.
Shot on the island of Gran Canaria shortly after the success of the German Karl May westerns 'Treasure of Silver Lake' and 'Winnetou I', this Austrian production tried to cash in on their success and even signed Mario Adorf, the villain of the latter. But it is totally different in tone, in a darker and more violent mood it is foreshadowing the Italian westerns soon to follow. Koch would reappear in "A Fistful of Dollars" and Kinski in "For A Few Dollars More". The villain (Adorf) is in the center of the show all the time, whereas the hero (Purdom) remains pale and only starts moving when his family is in danger. On one hand, it makes the movie original to put the villain in the foreground, on the other hand, it is a weakness not to have a more memorable hero. Mixed feelings, but in any case an interesting movie on the border line between American western influences and new European western style.
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