Challenge to Be Free (1975)

G  |   |  Adventure, Family  |  5 November 1975 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 145 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

Challenge To Be Free captures the excitement of a marathon manhunt through 1,000 miles of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in the Alaskan Wilderness.


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Complete credited cast:
Fritz Ford ...
Vic Christy ...
Jimmy Kane ...
Old Tracks
Alex Van Bibber ...
Great Rifleman
Tay Garnett ...
Old Marshal McGee
Gordon Yardley ...
Supply Officer
Bob McKinnon ...
Buck Dawson
Roger Reitano ...
Eli Zane
Ted Yardley ...
Officer Cabot
Brian Russell ...
Connie Yardley ...
Patty Piper ...
Narrator (voice)


Challenge To Be Free captures the excitement of a marathon manhunt through 1,000 miles of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in the Alaskan Wilderness.

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independent film | See All (1) »


The true story of a man you'll always remember. He became a legend you'll never forget...


Adventure | Family


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 November 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mad Trapper of the Yukon  »

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Did You Know?


Final film of veteran director Ford Beebe. See more »


Remade as Death Hunt (1981) See more »


Trapper Man
Performed by Ruthe Lewis
See more »

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User Reviews

Based on the True Mystery of the Mad Trapper
19 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

This is an excellent true story, one of the gems of mountain man folklore, set in 1930's Northern Canada. The story of Canada's most famous northern manhunt, the Mad Trapper of Rat River and his running gun battle with the R.C.M.P. in the winter of 1931-32.

The Mad Trapper was thought to be named Albert Johnson, complaints were received about Johnson tampering with people's traps. When the Mounties were sent to investigate one was shot and wounded in an exchange of fire. They withdrew for help and later returned to the isolated cabin with a nine man posse and 20 pounds of dynamite. Meanwhile Johnston had reinforced the cabin and dug a pit under the floor. When the Mounties threw the dynamite at the cabin it blew the cabin apart, but when they went in expecting to find a dead or wounded Johnston he fought them off.

The Mounties withdrew again, and later when they returned to the cabin they found it abandoned. After a long search of the area, they ran into Johnston again, but one of the Mounties was shot dead in the exchange and Johnston managed to slip away.

The Mounties could not catch Johnston so they called in aerial surveillance. The plane picked up Johnstons trail and directed the Mounties to his location. The outcome of the ensuing gunfight was left a mystery, did he get away. Nobody knows.

This Mike Mazurki version is a rather sterile version, of the story. Made in a style akin to an early Walt Disney movie.

It's still a passable enough version of the mystery of the "Mad Trapper". Though maybe it dwells a bit much on the large animal cast.

It definitely invites a remake. It was called Death Hunt (1981).

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