In New Mexico, a Confederate veteran returns home to find his fiancée married to a Union soldier, his Yankee neighbors rallied against him and his property sold by the local banker who then hires a gunman to kill him.
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When Confederate soldier Matt Weaver returns to town after the Civil War, he finds that his home has been sold by town boss Sam Brewster. Brewster hires gunfighter Jules Gaspard d'Estaing to deal with Weaver, but d'Estaing's independent approach settles the town's problems in a very unorthodox manner. Written by
At one point Yul Brynner's character tells he is a killer and not human. Some years later Brynner did play a killer robot in Westworld (1973). See more »
Around 00:19:39, you can see the marking out at the feet of Matt Weaver (Matt Weaver). See more »
That's my mother's grave out there, Ruth. I planted them vines on the porch. I'll live here until I die...sooner or later. However, as long as I live, I'll fight the whole town for the right to die here.
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Opening credits prologue: NEW MEXICO TERRITORY - 1865 See more »
One of those Westerns in which the townspeople come to wish they hadn't hired a gunslinger to do their dirty work. I had suspected that the version I saw on TV had been edited to squeeze into programme schedules, but this website gives the running time as 92 minutes and the TV slot (including commercials) was 105 minutes. One moment Matt Weaver has stormed into the night, furious that in his absence his home has been sold, the next he's become a feared outcast who's killed a man, instantly becoming such a threat to the townspeople that they have to hire a gunman. OK, the town has lost many of its men to the Civil War, but surely its citizens could muster enough courage and guns to do the job themselves? Brynner produces a sinister screen presence and dominates the cast, many of are low key. And several plot elements are understated; racism there may be in the town, but this is only evident when the hotel owner suggests that d'Estaing might be better suited seeking a room in the Mexican quarter; there's been many a better portrayal of a corrupt town boss than Pat Hingle's; and the lady to whom d'Estaing returns her pawned jewelry looks a bit too elegant to be down to her last dress.
d'Estaing's drunken rampage through the town came as a shock; the place must have been typical of many of the postbellum period, and its racism, venality and corruption as portrayed in the film didn't seem to justify a hired assassin's rage. It would have been better had d'Estaing been exposed to more overt racism than a patronising suggestion that he finds accommodation in a Mexican establishment.
No great surprises in the ending, but again it wasn't convincing when the Anglo-Americans united with the Mexicans in a gesture of respect.
Take away Brynner and this would have been an extremely average Western.
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