Paul Newman portrays a fascinating character named John Russell. As a half-breed Apache, Russell serves as a White-looking member of the reservation police. He is a quiet yet intelligent man. Although he is generally a calm and considerate individual, Russell lashes out at enemies of the Apache with severe mercilessness. He is a strong and brave man who will not hesitate to initiate violence if he feels the need. Nevertheless, Russell wants a peaceful life and he wants to experience love. A difficult combination for the harsh environment of the Old West!
An unexpected legacy puts Russell on a stagecoach journey with White Americans including the crooked Reservation Agent and his wife. When his relationship to the Apache is discovered, he is shunned by most of the travellers. When they experience trouble, however, the travellers depend on Russell as a leader for their survival. Russell experiences both love and hate for the travellers, and demonstrates that the greatest act of heroism is self-sacrifice. As a Western, this film is a 10!
The Deadly Trackers is focused on two men who share an over-developed sense of justice. They are both sheriffs, and they both embraced the importance of the law. One of the sheriffs loses his family, however, and his ideals die with them. The best part of this film is the relationship that builds between the two sheriffs as they hunt a small band of bushwackers. Richard Harris's character is the embittered sheriff bent on vengence. His character sinks into being as cruel and violent as the men he hunts. The Mexican sheriff, who lacks personal loss, maintains an ideal sense of keeping law and order. In the end, Harris's character regains his values for upholding the law only to see justice slip out of his grasp. The Mexican sheriff remains constant in his efforts to enforce the law only to provide for a lack of justice. The result is a dark tale about the nature of mankind on the frontier.