In Apache territory, a supply army column heads for the next fort, an ex-scout searches for the killer of his Indian wife, and a housewife abandons her husband in order to re-join her Apache lover's tribe.
In the Old West, impressionable teenagers Will, Les and Tod find an injured bank-robber who asks for their help. At first, the boys are scared and reluctant to help. They're afraid of getting into trouble with the law and their parents. Moved by the wounded man's pleas, they finally agree to hide the robber in Will's barn and clean his wounds. Over the next few days, they bring food, drink and clean clothes to the outlaw whose name is Harry Spikes. When the sheriff and his posse come by and ask questions, Will hides the fact the robber is concealed in his family's barn. After he sufficiently recovers, Harry Spikes thanks the boys for their help and vows to help them in return if they ever need his aid. He takes Will's horse and leaves the county, heading for the Mexican border. Later, Will's parents discover their son's little mischievous secret and administer Will a severe beating to teach him to never lie. Fed up with his father's frequent physical punishments, Will runs away from ... Written by
The extremely low holsters worn by the three boys are so unauthentic to the period as to be downright silly. See more »
[The Spikes Gang plans its first bank robbery]
They keep the money in back in the vault. They keep some money in the drawer up front. It ain't much, but we'll take it to allay the cause.
What if they don't want to give it to us?
Well, then they're dead men for sure. Remember boys, there is no arrest or trial for this crime - only convictions.
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Three miscreant youths, Gary Grimes, Ron Howard, and Charles Martin Smith find a wounded Lee Marvin on the road and take him to the barn of Gary Grimes father's farm. They patch him up, feed him, Grimes gives him his horse and he makes a getaway.
That doesn't sit well with Grimes' father who has lied to a posse about Marvin not being around. He takes off his belt and tans the hide off Grimes back. Grimes runs away then and there and the other two join him.
Like a lot of youth back then, when I was young, when this picture was made and today; these kids are bored. But back then there just weren't any diversions. Life was hard on those homestead farms, Grimes' father is a hard man, he had to be. The story of these kids is the story I'm sure of a lot of youth in the west.
They take up bank robbing like their new hero Lee Marvin and make a botch of it. They kill a State Senator accidentally and don't even get away with the money. Fleeing to Mexico, they meet up again with Marvin who takes them under his wing now, to show them how to do it right.
The rest of the movie is the unfolding of their disillusionment. They've killed a State Senator and they're hot. Lee Marvin does not turn out to be the hero they had in mind. But by his lights, he's operating quite logically.
The three young actors convey nicely what it must have been like to grow up on a bleak prairie homestead and to get a chance at what they perceive will be adventure. Lee Marvin strikes the right note in a difficult part. In some ways at first he appears to the kids to be just like his character in Monte Walsh, a rugged individualist who lives by his own code. He has to be that to appeal to the kids in the first place. He tries to make them shuck their boyish illusions about outlawry, but when push comes to shove the kids can't do it. Marvin is not like Liberty Valance in this film, a sadistic bully. But he does what he has to in order to survive as an outlaw.
The kids fail their apprenticeships, but they and Marvin give the audience some great entertainment.
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