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Nevada Smith is the young son of an Indian mother and white father. When his father and mother are killed by three men over gold, Nevada sets out to find them and kill them. The boy is taken in by a gun merchant. The gun merchant shows him how to shoot, to shoot on time, and to shoot straight. Everything that Nevada does goes to killing those three men. He learns to read and write just to learn their location. He pays people to tell him where they're at. He even goes to prison to kill one of them. While the movie is a Western and has plenty of action, it also takes a deep look into vengeance and how one can change after a haunting incident. Written by
Chase Ard <Bullitt357@aol.com>
Another tall revenge tale from Harold Robbins--western style...
NEVADA SMITH is a long-winded revenge tale encompassing chapters in a man's quest for revenge. The first chapter is the most interesting--with BRIAN KEITH showing "the kid" (STEVE McQUEEN) something about handling a gun as a gunslinger should who's looking to avenge the killers of his parents.
As the killers--MARTIN LANDAU, ARTHUR KENNEDY and KARL MALDEN--give tough, gritty performances and each is slated to be avenged for the killing of Nevada Smith's parents.
But the last half of the film sags under the tacked on spiritual saga with RAF VALLONE preaching the Bible to "the kid", who promises to "keep it in mind" before he goes off to find the third man, KARL MALDEN.
It's all directed in typical Henry Hathaway fashion--ruggedly staged action against gorgeous scenic backgrounds. It's a role that suits STEVE McQUEEN as perfectly as any of his best parts. He's especially good in the early segment as the uneducated kid who comes under the tutoring of BRIAN KEITH as Jonas Cord.
The swamp scenes, where McQueen gets himself sent to prison so he can locate Arthur Kennedy, almost seem like segments from another movie he made with Dustin Hoffman--PAPILLON. HOWARD DaSILVA and PAT HINGLE play the brutal warden and his helpmate in brutal fashion. SUZANNE PLESHETTE is rather unlikely as a doomed native girl in an underwritten role.
Summing up: A revenge tale that could have been trimmed by at least 30 minutes to make a tighter western.
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