Canada 1931: The unsociable trapper Johnson lives for himself in the ice-cold mountains near the Yukon river. During a visit in the town he witnesses a dog-fight. He interrupts the game and buys one of the dogs - almost dead already - for $200 against the owner's will. When the owner Hasel complains to Mountie Sergeant Millen, he refuses to take action. But then the loathing breeder and his friends accuse Johnson of murder. So Millen, although sympathetic, has to try to take him under arrest - but Johnson defends his freedom in every way possible. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Based upon a true story, the film was heavily criticized by Canadian historians for getting many historical facts and characterizations wrong. See more »
When Johnson is trapped on the cliff and begins preparing to jump into the pine trees, the weather is sunny and there is no snow on the trees. Yet when he jumps, the sky is overcast and the trees are covered with snow; once he is back on the ground, it is sunny again and the snow is gone from the trees. See more »
This is an almost forgotten film, a status which is undeserved. Loosely based on a true story, it is the tale of a lone, mysterious trapper who irks some thugs in the Canadian wilderness, leading to a massive manhunt by the Mounties. Bronson (virtually silent throughout and thus quite effective) is a resourceful target, at once gentle and violent. Marvin is the grizzled head of the mounted police who has the task of tracking down and capturing a man with whom he can identify. Their unspoken understanding is fascinating to see. Marvin is aided by a wet-behind-the-ears, by-the-book officer played by Stevens. It would be hard to imagine a more adorable sight than fresh-scrubbed Stevens in his red uniform entering the grungy town where the police are stationed. He is gorgeous.....and quite a fine actor. It is a shame that he wasn't able to get to a better place with his acting career. The film is peppered with a ton of familiar (if dirty) faces from old westerns of TV and film. All of the lynch mob look like people who've been guest villain on "Bonanza" or "The Big Valley". One major drawback is Dickinson. It's hard to believe that someone can be miscast in a role as tiny as this one, but she is. Her anachronistic teased hair drains what little 1930's period flavor there is from the film and she is wooden in all her scenes. Apparently, she was stunt-cast because of her previous work with Marvin, but it failed miserably. There is a bit of a connection to "Dances with Wolves" in this film, Maury Chaykin and Tantoo Cardinal appear in both films and Bronson even develops a similar relationship with a vicious dog as Costner does with his wolf. The film is something like "First Blood" + "The Fugitive" x snow - 40 years. It is a great example of the "Bronson versus the world" type of film and offers a solid Marvin performance as well. There is more going on here than one might think. The final showdown is quite dramatic and suspenseful. The scenery is also great.
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