Branded a coward for surrendering his New Mexico fort to the Confederates without firing a shot, a Union colonel attempts to redeem himself by leading a band of condemned prisoners on a suicide mission to recapture it.
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Lee Van Cleef,
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The film is set in 1862 but features Gatling guns that, presumably, formed part of the fort's arsenal when it was in Union hands.The gun was designed by Dr Richard J Gatling in 1861 and patented on November 4, 1862. Though two examples were employed near Petersburg and eight fitted on gunboats, it was not accepted by the American Army until 1866. So it's most improbable that it would have been available in a remote theatre of the Civil War. See more »
It is the American Civil War as envisioned by Italians, set apart from the main theaters of conflict, out in the southwestern desert. James Coburn is Col. Pembroke who has lost impregnable Ft. Holman to the Rebs and who has a private scheme to retrieve it along with his honor. He sets out on a commando expedition with a sergeant and a dirty half-dozen volunteers, scalawags freed from the gallows and kept in line (barely) with a promise of hidden gold. Telly Savalas is the Southern commander dreading Pembroke's reappearance. Some exciting action and tense situations, but credibility is strained when, with the Ft. Holman Gatling gun spraying shot into the parade ground, the Confederate troops show no interest in cover but keep milling in the open like ants from a hill goaded with a stick. Not a great or inspiring movie but a solid performance from Coburn. And for all the death there's not much blood.
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