In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
In 1909 Arizona, retired lawman Sam Burgade's life is thrown upside-down when his old enemy Zach Provo and six other convicts escape a chain-gang in the Yuma Territorial Prison and come gunning for Burgade.
Andrew V. McLaglen
Will Penny, an aging cowpoke, takes a "line-rider" job on a vast cattle ranch requiring him to keep trespassers and squatters moving until they're off the property. Ironically, he discovers that the mountain cabin reserved for the line rider has been appropriated by Catherine Allen and her young son, Horace, whose guide has deserted them en route to Oregon to join Catherine's husband. Too soft-hearted and ashamed to kick mother and child out just as the bitter Rocky Mountains winter sets in, he agrees to share the cabin until the spring thaw. But it isn't just the snow that slowly thaws; lonely man and woman soon forget their considerable dissimilarities and start developing a deep, if awkward and unstated, love for each another. Beyond this, Horace finds in Will the father he's never known, and Will finds in Horace the son he's never known he's wanted. The trio's little refuge is then invaded by Bible-quoting preacher Quint and his murderous family of "rawhiders", who'd earlier ...Written by
Feature debut of Jon Gries. He is the son of Director Tom Gries. Billed as Jon Francis, it was never the producers' intention to cast him in the part of Horace (Button). According to a DVD Special Feature, he was at the studio while this movie was in development. He spent time playing until one day the producers invited him into the office. Later, they told Tom Griers they had found the boy for the part, his son. See more »
When "preacher" Quint is shot in front of the line shack the rope attached to him to pull him backwards is very obvious and very noticeable. See more »
[Dutchie has been seriously wounded and the nearest doctor in a hundred miles away]
Best thing you can do for him, pilgrim, is make him rest easy while he waits till the end. Anything he drinks is on the house. And then you can bury him out back and away from the hogs. And it won't cost much. I'll even carve him a nice head marker. Twenty-five dollars sound about right? The ground is kind of hard this time of year... and the diggin' ain't easy.
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Even more than his Oscar-winning role in BEN-HUR, Charlton Heston's performance in the terribly underrated 1968 western WILL PENNY may stand out as his best. He tended to be even better in non-epic films, and this is proof.
Heston's an illiterate cowboy who has just finished up a long cattle drive out in the Montana badlands with his company, led by G.D. Spradlin. In no time, he is unemployed and wanders with his two best friends (Lee Majors, Anthony Zerbe) looking for a job as a harsh winter sets in. But they run afoul of a sadistic preacher (Donald Pleasance) over a dead elk. Zerbe accidentally wounds himself in the shootout; and Pleasance vows to get revenge on Heston after Heston shoots and kills one of his sons (Matt Clark).
Separating from Zerbe and Majors, Heston finds employment at the Flatiron spread, led by Ben Johnson, and, unintentionally, winds up protecting a lone woman (Joan Hackett) and her son (John Gries) during the harsh Montana winter and Pleasance's subsequent revenge quest.
Superbly directed and written by Tom Gries, who died too soon in 1977, WILL PENNY is a very well made western, albeit somewhat sad in the end (Heston can't marry Hackett in the end, because his age and his sudden, but lamentably too late, realization of what life should be like stand in the way). The excellent photography, done by master cameraman Lucien Ballard, was done principally on locations in the foothills of California's eastern Sierra, near Bishop. Featuring solid performances from other fine actors like Slim Pickens, Bruce Dern, Luke Askew, and Roy Jenson, WILL PENNY is easily one of the best westerns ever made--which somehow seemed to escape Paramount Pictures' notice back in 1968.
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