West Texas in the years after the Civil War is an uneasy meeting ground of two cultures, one white. The other native American. Elvis portrays Pacer Burton. The son of a white rancher (John McIntire) and his beautiful Kiowa Indian wife (Dolores DelRio). When fighting breaks out between the settlers and natives, Pacer tries to act as a peace maker, but the "flaming star of death" pulls him irrevocably into the deadly violence.
Elvis Presley was inducted into the Los Angeles Indian Tribal Council by Native American Wah-Nee-Ota after portraying the son of an Indian and a white settler in this film. See more »
When Sam Burton is hit deadly by three Indian arrows in his back, the Indian Warrior who shot the last arrow into his victim approaches the dying man in order to take his scalp. Sam lies with the front of his body to the ground the three arrows protruding out of his back. The Indian reaches Sam, turns him around and is shot by Sam who uses his last vitality strength to kill his murderer: to achieve this goal he has to lift his right arm to fire his colt on the Indian Brave thereby revealing that the three arrows that had been sticking in his back one second before are gone! They are not broken but still sticking in his body as would be the case in real life, no, they have dissolved into nothingness. See more »
Sam 'Pa' Burton:
[at Neddy Burton's funeral]
One thing from the bible she liked. "And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." To me, Neddy, you were the mother of all living. You were life itself. God... just one thing... take care of this woman. Amen.
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A great film !! Not only Elvis's best film BUT a GREAT WESTERN and a GREAT film. Always overlooked by the general public, because Elvis is in it, this is one of the best westerns of the 1960s. Directed by legendary auteur director Don Siegel this film has the action and tension of his best films as well as dramatically beautiful landscapes.(I would kill to see this on the BIG screen). Based on a book by western writer Clair Huffaker ( War Wagon, Posse from Hell, The Last Warrior) who with the legendary Nunally Johnson ( Prisoner of Shark Island, Jesse James, Grapes of Wrath, Dirty Dozen) have written a small action western with a statement on racism. A white man with Indian wife and their two sons ( one white and one half breed) must try to avoid choosing sides during an Indian uprising. Interestingly most films about racism deal with the causes of racism however this film deals with the consequences of racism. Also many of the other films of the time, unlike this film, reduced racism down to nasty individuals rather than societal forces. There are no sides taken although the Indians come off as more noble and intelligent that the white man. (It won a number of awards when it came out from Indian groups for its depiction of Indians) The story of a family's disintegration and descent into violence by external forces beyond it's control is truly moving. There are great performances and bits of beauty in John McIntire's and Dolores Del Rio's performances. Elvis is great also as the half breed son full of anger. Only 2 songs in the film ( one over the credits and one at the start in a party scene). A Bit of trivia : other actors slated for the role at one time or another include James Dean and Marlon Brando. Also I've read somewhere that the film had an underground street cult in the late 1960s with Black Urban youths in the US ! A great film.
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