After selling his cattle in town, ranch owner Morgan unexpectedly dies, and his foreman Pike has to deliver the payroll to Sonora, despite the perilous journey during which he's followed by many shady characters who want the money.
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
`The Guns of the Magnificent Seven' is, after the first film in the series, the best of the four `Seven' films. I'm constantly surprised at the number of critics who feel that this is the most undistinguished of the bunch as it is better cast, better written, better acted and better directed than any of the original `Magnificent Seven's other predecessors.
In my book, it easily rates alongside the first. It has a stronger story than any of the others (including the first) and the `seven' (especially Bernie Casey, Joe Don Baker and an excellent Monte Markham, in Steve McQueen-mode as Keno) have a doomed quality about them only matched by the Robert Vaughan character in the original film.
As the leader of the group, Chris, George Kennedy is excellent. He is both powerful and commanding, and more believable than either Yul Brynner or Lee Van Cleef were in the role. Sure, he's not as suave and `cool' as Brynner, but his Chris is a lot more interesting. Kennedy is an actor capable of delivering much tension and underplayed anger, and in this role he serves up plenty of each. The plot (the seven must rescue a Mexican bandit revolutionary from an evil army commandant) is skilfully executed by director Paul Wendkos. The action sequences are lively and made even more so the excellent (as ever) Elmer Bernstein score, which is played at an even more upbeat tempo than usual.
On the whole, this film would easily be at the top of my list of favourite Westerns, along with the Anthony Mann/James Stewart thriller-westerns of the 50s. It is certainly a cut above the score of cheap Italian/Spanish/US genre films that usually - and somewhat incredibly to my mind - seem to command greater respect in the field than they deserve. This is classier stuff than some critics would have you believe and deserves to be viewed as an enjoyable film in its own right rather than simply as a sequel to a great film. Indeed, in many ways it might have played better as a sequel to Richard Brooks' 1966 film `The Professionals' than as a follow-up to `The Magnificent Seven'.
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