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The Last Hard Men (1976)

R | | Western | 1 June 1976 (USA)
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In 1909 Arizona, retired lawman Sam Burgade's life is thrown upside-down when his old enemy Zach Provo and six other convicts escape a chain-gang and come gunning for Burgade.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Shelby
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Shiraz
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Dutch Vestal
James Bacon ...
Deputy Jetfore
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Gus
Dick Alexander ...
Bo Simpson
Yolanda Schutz ...
Paloma
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Storyline

In the early 20th century, some convicts while on a road gang escape and one of the convicts is Zach Provo, a half Indian, who was sent to prison during the latter part of the 19th century. He escapes with 6 others to exact vengeance on Sam Burgade the lawman who not only captured him but was also responsible for the death of Provo's wife, at least in Provo's mind. Part of his plan is to kidnap Burgade's daughter, which prompts him to strap on his guns and go after him on horseback. Can Burgade who has been retired for sometime still have what it takes to track Provo down? Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Too Mean to Forgive ... Too Mad to Forget! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Burgade  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (15-rated) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Leonard Rosenman's original score for The Last Hard Men was rejected in favor of the Jerry Goldsmith cues, both of these were included on a CD released on the Intrada Records label in 2012. This recording is available on Amazon. See more »

Goofs

After having his ear shot by Shelby, Gant shows no sign of the injury in the next scenes, no scab, scar, blood or bandage, nothing. See more »

Quotes

Sam Burgade: I'm not dead; I'm retired.
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User Reviews

 
THE LAST HARD MEN (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1976) **
27 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

This one came out during the Western genre’s last gasp; unfortunately, it emerges to be a very minor and altogether unsatisfactory effort – even if made by and with veterans in the field! To begin with, the plot offers nothing remotely new: James Coburn escapes from a chain gang, intent on killing the man (now retired) who put him there – Charlton Heston. While the latter lays a trap for him, Coburn outwits Heston by kidnapping his daughter (Barbara Hershey). Naturally, the former lawman – accompanied by Hershey’s greenhorn fiancé (Chris Mitchum) – sets out in pursuit of Coburn and his followers, all of whom broke jail along with him.

Rather than handling the proceedings in his customary sub-Fordian style, McLaglen goes for a Sam Peckinpah approach – with which he’s never fully at ease: repellent characters, plenty of violence, and the sexual tension generated by Hershey’s presence among Coburn’s lusty bunch. Incidentally, Heston and Coburn had previously appeared together in a Sam Peckinpah Western – the troubled MAJOR DUNDEE (1965; I really need to pick up the restored edition of this one on DVD, though I recently taped the theatrical version in pan-and-scan format off TCM UK). Anyway, the film is too generic to yield the elegiac mood it clearly strives for (suggested also by the title): then again, both stars had already paid a fitting valediction to this most American of genres – WILL PENNY (1968) for Heston and Coburn with PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID (1973)!

At least, though, Heston maintains a modicum of dignity here – his ageing character attempting to stay ahead of half-breed Coburn by anticipating what his next move will be; the latter, however, tackles an uncommonly brutish role and only really comes into his own at the climax (relishing his moment of vengeance by sadistically forcing Heston to witness his associates’ gang-rape of Hershey). Apart from the latter, this lengthy sequence sees Heston try to fool Coburn with a trick borrowed from his own EL CID (1961), the villainous gang is then trapped inside a bushfire ignited by the practiced Heston and the violent death of the two ‘obsolete’ protagonists (as was his fashion, Heston’s demise takes the form of a gratuitous sacrifice!).

The supporting cast includes Michael Parks as the ineffectual town sheriff, Jorge Rivero as Coburn’s Mexican lieutenant, and Larry Wilcox – of the TV series CHiPs! – as the youngest member of Coburn’s gang who’s assigned the task of watching over Hershey (while doing his best to keep his drooling mates away!). Jerry Goldsmith contributes a flavorful but, at the same time, unremarkable score.


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