Mexican peasant Joaquin Murieta and his wife go north to California to prospect for gold, finding only one white person, a marshal, who will befriend them. But after Murieta is beaten and ... See full summary »
Mexican peasant Joaquin Murieta and his wife go north to California to prospect for gold, finding only one white person, a marshal, who will befriend them. But after Murieta is beaten and robbed, and his wife killed by bandits, Murieta takes out his vengeance by forming a gang of outlaws who rob the countryside. Murieta is eventually cornered by the marshal, who persuades him to end his crusade. But when Murieta is later wounded and convalescent, his gang operates a reign of terror without his knowledge, leading to his death at the marshal's hands in a final battle. Written by
Peaceful Mexican prospector Jeffrey Hunter is beaten, his claim stolen, and his pregnant wife murdered by a group of racist thugs. Getting revenge, he finds himself pursued by lawman Arthur Kennedy and usurping control of a gang of banditos, before declaring war on all the gringos in California!
Another mean, hate-filled, hard-boiled, Spanish made, though American directed, low-budget western, this is sparked by an intense performance by Hunter, who's too-short career was practically built on playing angry anti-heroes. It's also a joy to see old Hollywood star Kennedy as the voice of justice and reason, the type of role he didn't get to play much in his latter career, where he like Ray Milland, was typecast as bitter curmudgeons or sour-puss detectives. It's always nice to see Euro- starlet Diana Lorys as well.
In my opinion, Jeffrey Hunter ranks right up there with the other great new Hollywood actors of the 1950's, Brando, Dean, Newman. Only for him, the roles seemed to dry up. If anything though, he's the man who inadvertently saved Star Trek. If he'd been available to shoot additional footage, Star Trek would have ended up as a stand-alone drive-in movie and a new pilot probably wouldn't have been ordered!
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