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....
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Fraser C. Heston
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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
Reportedly, source novelist Brian Garfield liked this screen adaptation of his "Gun Down" novel and gave the film the thumbs up. See more »
Air raid siren can be heard several times in background during Burgand and Nye's initial conversation in sheriff's office. See more »
Pima County Sheriff Noel Nye:
This came in about six o'clock. Twenty two escaped. They've captured or killed fifteen so that leaves seven.
Hmm. Gant. Weed: he could track a duck across a pond. Shiraz: a knife. Lee Roy Tucker: that coyote sniffed under every boulder in the territory. Mike Shelby: nineteen years old, in for life. Menendez: that must be Cesar Menendez. Real handsome lookin' man - cut the head off a little gal in Nogales one time. Said he wanted her earrings.
Pima County Sheriff Noel Nye:
And Zach Provo.
I though he was dead.
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A nice departure from the mainstream, "good guys wear white hats", product typical of the genre. First released in the 1970's, the movie followed in the experimental trend of the day begun with the "Spaghetti Westerns" starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, etc.
Both the protagonist and antagonist are throwbacks to an earlier time. Charlton Heston is somewhat dismayed and bewildered by the technological changes thrust upon him while James Coburn's character simply disregards them. The two men become locked in an ego battle that disregards all those around them except to the extent others are useful in pursuing their own personal goals. Both characters are incredible "hard men", physically, mentally, and emotionally and this aspect of their personalities plays out in single-minded, intense violence and cruelty.
The plot is nothing new, however. Coburn plays an escaped convict bent on avenging himself against Heston, the lawman who captured him. Coburn manipulates a gang of mostly dimwitted but dangerous criminals who kidnap Heston's daughter. Heston then chases them across hill and dale in an attempt to save her.
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