Sheriff Sean Kilpatrick is a pacifist. Frank Brand is the leader of a band of killers. When their paths cross Kilpatrick is compelled to go against everything he has stood for to bring ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Sean Kilpatrick
Frank Brand
Gutierrez, Mexican Policeman
Choo Choo
Paul Benjamin ...
Katharine Kilpatrick
Bill Bryant ...
Deputy Bill
Kevin Kilpatrick
Read Morgan ...
Deputy Bob
Joan Swift ...
Ray Moyer ...
Armando Acosta ...


Sheriff Sean Kilpatrick is a pacifist. Frank Brand is the leader of a band of killers. When their paths cross Kilpatrick is compelled to go against everything he has stood for to bring death to Brand and his gang. Through his hunt into Mexico he is challenged by a noble Mexican Sheriff interested only in carrying out the law - not vengeance. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The sheriff fought for peace. Now he would kill for vengeance.


Western | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 December 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Riata  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


As the outlaws are riding out of the town, Right after they shoot the sheriffs wife and drop his son the camera switches to an roof top shot. You can see the shadow of the camera on the ground. lower right of the screen. See more »

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User Reviews

On the Right Track
17 June 2002 | by (North Dakota) – See all my reviews

Richard Harris, who has appeared in quite a few westerns for

being from across the Atlantic, tackles another role with gusto in

this hard hitting 1973 film.

Harris is Kilpatrick, a pacifist sheriff in a Texas town. Rod Taylor

and his gang rob the bank, kill a few people, and get set to ride off

with the loot. Harris blocks their departure with a system the town

has rigged up so as not to kill anyone, just capture them. He does

not believe in guns, and only shoots to injure and scare, not kill.

Taylor and the gang kill Harris' wife and child, and ride away, with

Harris on their trail. He does not let that pesky Mexican border

deter him either, as he rides on through and meets another

lawman a lot like him.

Al Lettieri plays Gutierrez, who is also after Taylor. However,

Gutierrez's pacifism comes to annoy the viewer as well as Harris.

The Mexican sheriff is insistent on letting justice prevail, always

looking for witnesses, and never just going after and killing the

bloodthirsty gang.

Harris begins to catch up to the gang, and dispatches them one by

one, until he finally is down to two. He is also on his last nerve, as

he finally gives in to his gun's quick justice. The climactic shootout

in the convent, where Harris finds himself on the same level as

Taylor, is very moving.

Despite the (PG) rating, this is one violent film. Once the viewer

overcomes this, they are definitely in for a wild ride. Harris is great

as the vengeful sheriff who will not die, and brings the same

intensity to this that he showed in the "A Man Called Horse" series.

Rod Taylor goes down in western film history as one of the

meanest villains on celluloid. One great scene has him describe

how he murdered his father, as even his jaded gang looks at him

in horror.

In the outlaw gang- William Smith, who seems to have been in

everything and you will recognize him the minute you see him,

does well as the seemingly retarded Schoolboy. Neville Brand is

good as Choo Choo, who earned that nickname because he has

a section of rail where his hand was. Paul Benjamin is great as

Jacob, a very intelligent black man who uses his wits to outsmart

the rest of the gang, but cannot get past how others feel about his


As mentioned before, the cast is great except for the character of

Gutierrez. Eventually, he became a thorn in the side of Harris and

the audience. He never seemed to get what Harris was trying to

do, and adhered so closely to the law that he became annoying.

His final murderous act is more frustrating than noble.

Shear's direction is okay, once in a while I would notice the

shadow of a camera in an outdoor scene. His decision to use still

shots from the movie in the opening credits might have people

checking the pause button on their VCR, and I am not sure why he

did this. His actions scenes are good, with good stuntwork, but

again, be forewarned of the violence, especially directed toward


Despite an equally awkward title, "The Deadly Trackers" is good

adult western fare that probably should have received more praise

than it has- especially for Taylor and Harris. I highly recommend it.

This is rated (PG) but contains strong physical violence, strong

gun violence, brief sexual violence, gore, strong profanity, very brief

female nudity, and sexual references.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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