Nun Sara is on the run in Mexico and is saved from cowboys by Hogan, who is preparing for a future mission to capture a French fort. The pair become good friends, but Sara never does tell him the true reason behind her being outlawed.
A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
A band of vigilantes catch Jed Cooper and, incorrectly believing him guilty of cattle rustling and murder, hang him and leave him for dead. But he doesn't die. He returns to his former profession of lawman to hunt down his lynchers and bring them to justice.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The federal court with jurisdiction over the Indian Territory was in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Oklahoma Territory was established from the western part of the Indian Territory in 1890, one year after the story is set. The real life hanging judge was Isaac Parker who wasn't a big fan of hanging, but the death sentence was mandatory. Judge Parker had a tall wooden fence erected around the gallows to prevent crowds of onlookers from watching. There is a museum of the court in Fort Smith, and they are building a Federal Marshall's museum nearby. See more »
When Cooper is first lassoed, the rope changes position between shots. See more »
As with many westerns at the time the UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to reduce facial closeups during the opening lynching and to edit Cooper's fight with Miller. Later video/DVD releases were intact. See more »
The film begins brilliantly and brutally with a lynch mob leaving Eastwood for dead at the end of a rope...
He is rescued, eventually cleared of suspicion, and appointed deputy with 'a license to hunt' by a famous hanging-Judge Parker (Pat Hingle) with a clear warning: All the criminals are to be taken alive for trial...
Eastwood proceeds to clean up the worst crimes in the state, but doubting his own motives, he always avoids capturing the gang of nine vigilantes who were responsible for his near-death...
Inexorably, the confrontation comes nearer. The leader of the gang, Captain Wilson (played by Ed Begley), returns to town and wounds Eastwood. This provides an encounter with another victim of the vigilantes, Rachel (Inger Stevens) who nurses Eastwood and reveals that the same gang raped her after murdering her husband...
Eastwood's character is unlike Gregory Peck's character as the blind seeker of justice in "The Bravados" (1958), and much different for the 'Stranger.' He has now more dialog, he has a romance of sorts, and although he is equally proficient with the gun he always waited for the court's justice rather than dispensing his own, as he readily did in the Italian Westerns. He also exhibits less of the dry humor that had characterized the Stranger, and most sacrilegious of all, he has a name, Jed Cooper.
"Hang 'em High" remains a study of differences between public and private forms of justice, but the motivations behind both are left confused and unsatisfying... The gripping mass execution on a big platform, is brilliantly directed by Ted Post, but the film has neither the magic or the mystique of a Leone film...
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