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Descending to the Same Level as Whom You Hunt
bkoganbing4 June 2006
The big surprise in The Deadly Trackers is Rod Taylor's emergence as one mean and nasty villain here. Although he had played a bad guy early in his career in Hell on Frisco Bay as a contract killer, the public was used to Rod as the civilized fellow bringing a sense of order to a future world in The Time Machine. He's anything, but civilized in The Deadly Trackers.

Richard Harris is a sheriff with some rather strange notions about capture instead of killing in a lawless land. Rod Taylor and his gang rob the bank in Harris's town and kill the bank manager on a whim. Then when Harris tries to capture and use reason with Taylor, Harris's wife and son become dead also.

That gives our sheriff a whole new outlook and he hunts the gang into Mexico where he teams up with a federale played by Al Lettieri who has all the ideas Harris used to have.

This was the farewell performance of Al Lettieri and interesting that he went out as a good guy here. He created a great group of villains in The Godfather, McQ, Mr. Majestyk, and The Getaway. He was a great talent.

Some attention was paid to the fact that Harris is an Irish sheriff and for that matter Rod Taylor is Australian. But America is in fact a nation of immigrants and this should be no stranger than Errol Flynn's emergence as a western star in the heyday of the studio.
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Trashy but memorable
bushrod5618 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Idealistic Sheriff turned vengeance-crazed whirlwind down Mexico way ( where as all Western fans know, anything goes). Richard Harris brings his unique (not to be confused with good) acting talents to the role. There's also Rod Taylor as the gross, ultra-violent and competent gang leader with Neville Brand complete with iron rail instead of a hand (yea, right!), William Smith doing one of his muscled, vacant-gazed idiot numbers and some black, dandyish gambler who I felt sorry for being subjected to the other gang members crap. The late Al Lettierri plays a decent, by the book Mexican Federale, which is a shame because he's much better at irrational, explosively violent sickos. A lot of hand-held camera work in this movie (and I don't just mean POV shots) gives it a low budget look, but the Mexican locales help out some. So why my interest in this film? Maybe it's just the shear down and dirty intensity with which Harris goes after that down and dirty gang. SPOILER- The scene where he throws an injured Lettierri through the Bar window, blasts the black gambler to smithereens and starts to kick a** and take names with the bar patrons is almost Apocalyptic. Rod Taylor exudes a very unpredictable, terrible menace in this film, too. Recommended for fans of sweaty westerns, but with no dubbed voiced Italian actors.
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"We must not allow guns to do our thinking for us".
classicsoncall9 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I find it interesting how I can reconcile my feelings about this film. On the one hand, it's a boldly intense revenge Western, while on the other, there's so much nonsense going on that with any serious scrutiny one might dismiss it as gross caricature. Take the character of Choo-Choo (Neville Beand) for instance - how exactly did 1880's medical technology manage to graft a chunk of railroad track to his right arm? Then there's Gutierrez (Al Lettieiri), the Mexican Federale - you mean to tell me that he gets shot off his horse, does a forty foot swan dive over a cliff, and some time later manages to get up and walk away? I had him a goner, but if he could have survived, how so without a broken back?

Then there's the main character himself, Sheriff Kilpatrick, ably portrayed by Richard Harris. Now I know it doesn't take much of a stretch to go from pacifist to hell bent avenger after seeing your family wiped out, but how about some discretion. Kilpatrick just jumps right in without thought of consequences, like jumping that big lug Schoolboy (William Smith). OK, I know that had to work out to keep the story going, but gee, the guy looked like he just finished a workout at World Gym.

There's something else about Kilpatrick - did you notice that after every one of his bloody encounters (that first one with Schoolboy was the worst), he appears in the next scene with a clean set of duds. I didn't notice any Chinese laundries along the way, so it left me wondering how he might have managed that. Maybe I'm being picky, but didn't anybody else think about that?

Here's something neat though - I liked the idea that Kilpatrick had the town of Santa Rosa so organized that they were able to back him up at a moment's notice with all hands on deck. If these were the citizens of Lago, there would have been no rest of the story in "High Plains Drifter". Something to think about.

As for the finale, I'm not buying it. After all that Kilpatrick and Gutierrez had gone through to catch up with Brand (Rod Taylor), the Mexican lawman would just shoot him in the back as he rode away? Where's the code of honor among lawmen? Even if Gutierrez wanted to be hard core by the book with Kilpatrick, by the final showdown with Brand it was going to be self defense any way you slice it. So I have to ask, was that really necessary?
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A better than average Western
Clarke-26 December 1998
This is one of those films that lovers of the Western genre ought to rent on video. They will discover a treasure of the past that is well worth a watch. Like most Westerns, this film is set in the 1870s American southwest. The story of vengence is common in Western films, and this particular tale is extremely brutal. The post civil war Southwest was a violent place full of vigilantism and crime. Men of the West with morals and a sense of social responsibility always served as easy prey for bushwackers.

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.
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Simplistic chase western, with heaps of blood-spilling but little else.
barnabyrudge25 May 2005
After The Wild Bunch had pushed back a few boundaries in terms of violence, especially within the western genre, there followed a spate of similar westerns. Billy Two Hats, Chato's Land, The Hunting Party, The Revengers and The Last Hard Men were among the front-runners. Also on any list of brutal '70s revenge-westerns would be The Deadly Trackers, originally planned as a Samuel Fuller movie but completed by Barry Shear after Fuller quit the project. This violent, bloodthirsty film is, alas, somewhat disappointing.

Irish sheriff Sean Kilpatrick (Richard Harris) looks after the Texas town of Santa Rosa and has made a point of solving crimes and capturing criminals without resorting to violence. In fact, he has never in his life fired a gun in anger, yet has somehow fostered total law, order and respect among the townsfolk. His methods are tested to the limit when outlaw Frank Brand (Rod Taylor in a surprisingly sadistic performance) and his gang rob the local bank. During their escape attempt, the outlaws inadvertently kill Kilpatrick's own wife and child. Devastated, Kilpatrick ditches his anti-gun, anti-violence attitude and pursues Brand and his cronies. The chase leads to Mexico, where Kilpatrick has no official authority and is viewed as little more than an outlaw himself. The Irish sheriff tracks down and kills Brand's gang one-by-one, until just he and Brand remain.

Just a year earlier, Barry Shear had made the film Across 110th Street, regarded as the most violent movie ever made up to that point, so it's perhaps no surprise that this film emphasises the gore and brutality to the extent it does. Harris is quite memorable as the Irish sheriff, giving another of his energetic performances, and Taylor's villainous turn reveals an ugly side rarely portrayed by the actor in his other films. However, in most aspects The Deadly Trackers fails to make the grade as a good, worthwhile film. It is far too simplistic for its own good, with no resonance beyond the immediate plot (and the plot itself is pretty basic, being nothing more than a straightforward chase narrative). The supporting performances are generally rather lacklustre, possibly because none of the characters beyond the two principal players carry much depth or interest. Also, the story is dismayingly familiar, with precious little that it fresh or original; just lots of tired and predictable scenes that have been begged, borrowed and stolen from many other sources (even the music is lifted directly from The Wild Bunch.... perhaps to keep the budget down?) On the whole, The Deadly Trackers is a dismal misfire in which the detail to violence and the intriguing lead performances are the sole points of interest.
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Intense, watchable film let down by awkward opening sequence and some bad dialogue
jackcade1 July 2003
The Deadly Trackers was to be directed by the author of the original story, Sam Fuller. He was replaced by one or two other directors (identities unknown) and it was up to the dependable Barry Shear to complete the film. The opening sequence of stills and voice-overs is a liability to the overall film. My guess is that Shear, due to the chop and change of previous directors, had cobbled together pieces of their unfinished work. I would appreciate clarification of this from someone who knows. The importance of the opening sequence is that it establishes the motivation for the entire film. The violent shattering of this close-knit family drives the action - and should have given the viewer a greater appreciation of Richard Harris's despair. Otherwise Shear's film is an excellent thought-provoking western with an excellent performance by Al Lettieri playing the sheriff as the revenge-seeker's conscience. Vigilante theme worth comparing to films like Dirty Harry which was released two years earlier and set a trend in American cinema.

Memo: Whoever wrote the line `He shot the roses from her cheeks' should have been shot himself.
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The Road to hell is paved with good intentions, but wet with tears "
thinker16916 January 2013
Samuel Fuller wrote this unusual western novel which is aptly directed by Barry Shear. It relates the story of a small town Sheriff, Sean Kilpatrick (Richard Harris) who hates guns and abhors violence. That is until a gang of ruthless but murderous bank robbing killers enters his village. Led by a clever, but unscrupulous murderer named Frank Brand (surprisingly played by Rod Taylor, who typically plays good guys) arrives to rob the bank but is quickly surrounded and easily captured. Nevertheless, Brand and his cut-throats escape. but not before shooting and killing innocents in the process. Filled with rage and vengeance, Kilpatrick set out to bring the killers to justice despite their crossing to Mexico. The group of criminals and law enforcement officers are made up of serious actors who typically play opposite sides of the law and include, Al Lettieri as a Mexican Constable (Excellent role), Neville Brand and William Smith, (supurb characters) as part of Brand's gang. The great, rugged Mexican outdoors and spacious landscapes are majestic and add to the bloodstained journey. Indeed, it's further enhanced with the violence and exciting action. An unusual treat for Taylor fans and an equally surprising role for the entire cast. Recommended to any who seeks a violent page torn from our wild Western Lore. ****
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Violent and overlong western about a relentless revenge with very good cast
ma-cortes21 August 2016
This is a violent and gory western packed with thrills , noisy action , riding pursuits , shootouts and a real vendetta . It deals with a sheriff , Sean Kilpatrick (Richard Harris) , who heads Southwest of the border to get his pound of flesh from the bandits led by Brand (Rod Taylor , when Sam Fuller was going to direct, he wanted Terence Stamp for the role) and hoodlums (Neville Brand , William Smith , Paul Benjamin) , all of them slew his family in a bank robbery . Across his chase into Mexico , Sean is challenged by an upright Mexican Sheriff (Al Lettieri) and things go wrong .

Exciting western that displays an extreme battle of wits and strong story about a merciless vengeance among some spiteful characters . Being based on a story written by the great Samuel Fuller titled ¨Riata¨ and with an interesting screenplay by the prestigious Lukas Heller who also wrote ¨Dirty Dozen¨, ¨Monty Walsh¨ , ¨Too late the hero¨ , ¨What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?¨ and ¨Flight of the Phoenix¨ . Duo protagonist is frankly well , as Richard Harris and Rod Taylor , both of whom give excellent acting . Support cast is awesome such as Neville Brand , William Smith , Al Lettieri , Isela Vega , Paul Benjamin , William Bryant , Pedro Armendariz , among others . The picture is pretty well but it might have been more bearable if Samuel Fuller had not been bumped from the director chair as it is , he and other contributors refused to be listed in the credits . Furthermore , it is full of atmospheric musical score by Fred Steiner . And an evocative and colorful cinematography by Gabriel Torres .

The motion picture was professionally directed by Barry Shear , though it has some flaws and gaps . Barry took the filmmaking from uncredited Sam Fuller who was replaced as director at an early stage . Shear directed some nice films , such as ¨Across 110th Street¨ and ¨Wild in the streets¨ and a lot of TV episodes . Rating : 6 , acceptable and passable western
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the deadly trackers. Emphasize deadly.
froberts7320 January 2011
An opening scene is one that will make the anti-gun group proud. The sheriff (a sober Richard Harris) explains that guns beget guns, etc. But when a group of super-nasties kill his school marm wife, and young son, it's a whole different story.

It's vengeance time and the next hour or so has to do with the sheriff on a one-man quest to find the head baddie (Rod Taylor relishing the role) and the chase takes us into Mexico and a small village where, usually, nothing much happens.

What happens in this flick is brutality piled on brutality, and violence up the ying-yang. Look at someone cross-eyed and you've had it mister.

There is the requisite prostitute with the requisite heart of gold and, by the way, some of the best acting comes from her little girl who was fathered by Taylor. She really looks scared --- well, you know the phrase.

So, the story is standard stuff, but it will hold your attention. The scenery is neat, the 'borrowed' music is neat and, for you lovers of violence, this is heaven on film although, to be honest, it is not as gross as you may have expected, since the films of Fuller are 'full-er' violence.

The moral to the story? Revenge is not always sweet. Would the Lone Ranger have done it this way?
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Western Death Wish
Chase_Witherspoon23 June 2010
With a soundtrack lifted straight off "The Wild Bunch" and a premise from any number of superior films (not just westerns), "The Deadly Trackers" is nothing more than a shameless plagiarism. Solid cast is wasted in stereotypical roles, only Al Lettieri breaks the mould as a sympathetic policeman on the trail of Harris, a former lawman taking revenge on those who murdered his family.

Taylor is the key villain, sadistic and for all intents and purposes, effective in his role. His ragtag crew including Brand, Smith and Benjamin are less convincing, with Smith (a cult favourite) flexing his muscles for one bloody fist fight before a premature exit. The movie basically lurches from one bloody encounter to the next, as Harris exacts merciless revenge, in turn pursued by Lettieri intent on taking him alive in the name of justice.

The contrast from his pre-family massacre pacifist (to the extent that guns are prohibited in his town), to that of total maniac who bludgeons his victims to bloodied pulp, is aimed at conveying the message that even the most gentle soul can turn feral under the most intense desperation. Just in case you fail to pick up on that message, there's a plethora of fatal beatings and progressively more sadistic retaliations to underline the point, culminating in a face-off between Harris and Taylor at an orphanage where they compete for wildest animal honours.

It's been written that Harris threw a lot of weight in the making of this picture, and it does have the appearance of being a one-man-stand, built around Harris from every angle in every frame. If only some of that attention had been dedicated to the script and plot, the outcome could have been much more rewarding. As it is, "The Deadly Trackers" is a pointless orgy of violence, a less than impressive vehicle in which to showcase the least of Harris' acting range. Uninspiring.
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A Definite Piece of Postmodern Cinema
LeonLouisRicci10 September 2012
A very uneven film, filled with a "a bit of the olé' ultra-violence", shows its troubled production and finally emerges as a curios and a signpost of the changes in Hollywood that were still evolving and not without pains.

There is a vastness to the production with a gritty feel, children in distress and some really despicable characters. The Hero's change of heart from pacifist to killer is abrupt as are some of the other plot devices that take a backseat to the carnage and and mayhem.

It does have a memorable feeling to it that seems to stem from the movie's outrageous flourishes and one wonders if this was probably the best they could cobble from all the changes in Directors and other on the set strife. The good cast, however, are all in top form.

After all, it is recommended for fans of Westerns and movie chronology. It is a definite piece of postmodern cinema that is having difficulty (although not always aware) finding its niche and as a lot of seventies films show, it was not an easy transition as the art-form was released from over thirty years of repression.
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Good premise, but unsatisfying.
Bigyin29 August 1998
I enjoyed this movie but it was single layered and had a very unsatisfying ending. I don't want to give it away, but it was very disappointing to me.
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Revenge beyond the law ......
merklekranz6 August 2019
Interesting western revenge tale that follows Richard Harris into Mexico in pursuit of Rod Taylor and his gang who murdered Harris's wife and boy. There are ethical questions at play here, as Sheriff Harris is only interested in killing the four villains, with no thought of the justice system. Meanwhile he is being dogged by a Mexican Sheriff, Al Lettieri, seeking justice according to the law. The film is nicely photographed, however the run time of 110 minutes seems excessive for such a simplified plot. The acting benefits from an interesting cast that includes Neville Brand and William Smith. The movie is a bit uneven and may have included a smidge too many problems for the hero, including temporary blindness. Nevertheless, "The Deadly Trackers" is a superior western and is recommended. - MERK
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The Price Of Vengeance
FightingWesterner22 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Pacifist sheriff Richard Harris rethinks his civilizes ways, when his wife and son are murdered by ex-Confederate lowlife Rod Taylor and his nasty band of cutthroats. Abandoned by his posse at the border of Mexico, he goes it alone, butting heads with Al Lettieri (who's great in this), his idealistic Mexican counterpart, who wants to bring Taylor in alive for a local murder.

A fast pace, plentiful action, good photography of beautiful Mexican locations, and a colorful cast of villains, that include William Smith as a disfigured brute, Neville Brand as an unpleasant cretin with a block of railroad track for a hand (!), and Paul Benjamin as a cultured, black dandy, make this worth watching for fans of hard-boiled, macho film-making.

The film's message is a bit murky though. It seems as if the movie is demonstrating the dehumanizing effect of Harris' obsessive search for vengeance, which turns him into a man to be pitied.

However, despite Mexican lawman Lettieri's great strength, dignity, and honor, his sense of true justice makes him look like less of a man too, when in the end he's forced by his rigid ideology to attempt to release the truly vile, smug killer and ends up shooting Harris in the name of the law.

The film is either trying to have it both ways or telling us to choose our own morality!

Like most of his western films (A Man Called Horse, Man In The Wilderness, Unforgiven), Harris takes an inhuman amount of physical punishment in this grim, sometimes mean-spirited, and excessively violent action/adventure, that somehow managed to sneak by with a PG rating!
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Standard Western Fare
ramsfan31 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Deadly Trackers is a standard Western with a mundane plot: A peace loving sheriff (well played by Richard Harris) in a small Texas town sees his wife and son killed by a gang of marauders who have robbed the local bank. He vows revenge and travels through Mexican territory- where he has no official jurisdiction- to hunt down and kill each gang member. It is a plot that though mildly entertaining has been done to death both before and since.

With a very good cast on hand, "The Deadly Trackers" should have been better. Perennial good guy Rod Taylor is cast against type as the sadistic leader of the gang. He does a good, credible job as does Al Lettieri, also in the unfamiliar good-guy role as a by-the-book Mexican lawman who clashes with the Harris character throughout the movie. While supporting villain Neville Brand (Choo Choo)gets good screen time, the same cannot be said for classic bad guy William Smith, who is given the role of a mentally challenged member of the gang and then unceremoniously killed within 20 minutes of the film. With his large canon of work in both film and TV, one can't help but wonder what Smith could have done with a more fleshed-out character.

Paul Benjamin, the most intelligent and well spoken member of this motley crew, inexplicably chooses to ride with these guys and be subjected to ridicule and frequent use of the "n" word. Why? His character does not mesh with the rest of these guys and it plays very flat.

The biggest problem lies in the ending. We are expected to believe that lawman Lettieri- a man who has insisted on taking the high road throughout the entire movie in bringing in a killer to face justice- would just shoot a lawman in the back as he rides out of town.

Not a bad movie for its time, but hardly the polished gem it could have been with a little more attention to detail and character development.
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"If you untie me, I could be of help"
rhinocerosfive-118 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A very simple, old-fashioned Western about a man of peace destroyed on a trail of vengeance, with no particular nuance or grace and nothing to mark it as a product of the early 70s except lots of blood squibs. Still, DEADLY TRACKERS reminds us that in Hollywood, anything can happen. Even a Richard Harris-Al Lettieri buddy movie.

Rod Taylor is a happy surprise as a brutal killer, unregenerate and nasty, unrecognizable from the pretty Englishman in GIANT who goes fishing for Elizabeth Taylor and ends up hooking - do you remember? - Carolyn Craig. William Smith's vicious idiot, Schoolboy, is perhaps his best acting work outside that monologue as Conan's father, and his fellow war hero Neville Brand is weird and big enough to wear a piece of train track instead of a hand, which is at least interesting, if unlikely. But Harris pretty much walks through this one, apparently numbed by all those underperforming Westerns that preceded it (though he can't make it all the way through this one without his MAN CALLED HORSE headband); maybe he saw that his career was headed for the rickety CASSANDRA CROSSING. And the wonderful Al Lettieri is handcuffed by a nice-guy role that disallows his greatest strengths: sadism, menace, barbarity.

Gabriel Torres' photography is okay, but the story (by original director Sam Fuller and Lukas Heller) moves along in fits and starts, probably because its multiple other directors were fired by Harris, who manages not to appear drunk through most of the picture. TV director Barry Shear does a decent job with the final product; I'm not a big fan of Sam Fuller anyway and am not certain that the movie would have been better if he had been allowed to finish it. But Shear's (perhaps unwilling) choice of opening with a terrible, unnecessary V.O. scroll and dialog over "still" photos of town life, is a bizarre and not very good one. Then the action starts, and it's true 70s violence, with children's heads stomped by horses and women shot in the face so close to camera that blood spatters the lens. This is the kind of movie that made the MPAA rethink some of its decisions and reduce the violence quotient in PG pictures.

The best thing about this movie is the music it appropriates from THE WILD BUNCH (a choice likely made by Warner Brothers due to budgetary concerns after the numerous headaches associated with its difficult star), and this great music isn't even appropriate - Jerry Fielding's epic score, itself reminiscent of Elmer Bernstein's work on MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, is ill-suited to an intimate, low-end quickie that would have been better served by a dirge.
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A "Can't Miss" movie that misses.
pmtelefon31 July 2019
"The Deadly Trackers" has a terrific cast. Put them in any other western and it would be great. For some reason this movie isn't so good. The most annoying thing in the movie, hands down, is Neville Brand's metal hand. It's just so stupid that it's wildly distracting. That's not the only problem with "The Deadly Trackers". This movie suffers from a cheapness to the production. It looks like a low budget spaghetti western. That may have been the type of western that they were trying to make but it just doesn't work. What a shame. "The Deadly Trackers" could have been great. (Just for the record, I enjoyed this movie tonight more than I did the last time I saw it. I'll give it another go in a few months. See what happens.)
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Begins and ends with a bang
scheelj116 April 2012
See it – Kind of "trippy" in parts, which is to be expected for a western made during the 70's. But this one's exciting, action-packed, violent, and stars the talented Richard Harris. Harris is possibly the most underrated actor in film history. In this western classic, he plays an Irish sheriff who goes after a band of outlaws who have murdered his family. He tracks them down one by one seeking revenge. The movie starts out uniquely with the first few minutes of the film's dialogue accompanied by a slideshow of pictures. Then, the first gunfight explodes onto the screen and the pace never lets up until the end. This tragic movie is definitely not a feel-good story. But it begins and ends with a bang. 3.5 out of 5 action rating.
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Rather Brutal Revenge Western.
rmax30482328 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I can't understand why these American outlaw gangs always gallop into Mexico to find safety and succor. They always wind up getting caught anyway. And before they come to their just end they must suffer through the Aztec Two Step. However, the story is from Sam Pekinpah who had this thing for Mexico.

Rod Taylor, as the leader of this gang of four, doesn't seem to realize this. He and the gang hold up a bank and then get trapped in a Texas town. They're all snarling in the school house or someplace, surrounded by a hundred townsmen pointing rifles in their direction. Peaceful Sheriff Richard Harris tries to sweet talk them into giving up. Like hell! Taylor is pure e-vil. He emerges from the building holding a pistol to the head of a tow-haired young boy who happens to be Harris's son. The accommodating Harris orders his men to throw down their guns, allowing Taylor and the rest to high tail it out of town, with the boy on Taylor's saddle. Harris's wife screams and tries to drag her son from the horse but Taylor shoots her dead. Then the boy topples from the saddle and is stomped to death by twelve hooves as the animals race over his fallen body. Harris is stunned, his face frozen with grief. Then he straps on his gun belt and slips a rifle into its sheath.

This sets the whole plot in motion, similar in some ways to "The Bravados" with Gregory Peck as Adrasteia. I won't bother to spell it out in any detail because it's a long movie and sometimes complicated. But with Harris in pursuit the gang crosses the Rio Grande and more or less slaughters its way through a couple of Mexican villages, sparing no one. Harris manages to catch up from time to time and winnow down the numbers but his efforts are hampered by Al Lettieri as a Mexican police officer who believes in the law. Harris's sheriff, after all, has no business in another country and revenge killings are illegal, so we are led to understand.

It's a colorful movie and full of action, so it's an enjoyable divertimento. The location shooting in Morelos, Mexico, is very nicely done. Make you want to take your holiday there. And the performances aren't bad either. Curious to see Al Lettieri as a force for good instead of evil, although with his bushy mustachio and scowling features he still looks like a for for evil. Rod Taylor could go either way. His face is plumped out with age and he has a full mustache and scraggly beard so that from certain angles he resembles Robin Williams. Harris has that ugly, manly face that some Irishmen have and he hits his marks. He was excellent in the little-seen "The Field" and he seemed to give acting lessons to the other actors in "Gladiator." The plot throws away any credibility it had towards the end. We've gotten to know Rod Taylor's murdering thief. He takes nothing seriously. He watches from a distance while Harris sets about trying to butcher a gang member that's been left behind, and he jokes about it and makes bets on who will win. Then we have to swallow and digest his sudden impulse to visit his little daughter in a Mexican convent. He smiles, tries to hold her close. "You know your ol' Daddy, don't ya?" The tears run down his face, also the viewer's.
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The implausible Trackers
Mr. OpEd20 August 2017
I'd streamed some TCM yesterday. Finally got to see Dark of the Sun. Wow. Great flick. Then there was another Rod Taylor actioner, The Deadly Trackers. The film opens up with much promise: narration over photographs of the action. Then Taylor (the bad guy) shoots a bank teller who tells Taylor he made a mistake what with sheriff Richard Harris running things. From that gun shot, everything is live except any plausibility.

What follows is the town's folk, like a well-oiled crime-fighting machine, coming out with rifles at the ready. There are armed men everywhere and traps to keep Taylor and his fellow bank robbers from fleeing. There's just one problem. Sheriff Harris doesn't want any of these guns fired. Huh?

If you're a gun enthusiast this has you scratching your head as towns people (including those with guns) are simply picked off by the baddies and then allowed to escape after killing hostages.

On the other hand, if you're anti-gun, you're also scratching your head as the pacifist/non-gun wearing sheriff then goes off to track the miscreants...alone!...and kill them using GUNS!

Not long after killing the first bad guy, Harris runs into another inept/pacifist sheriff, this one from south of the border who is slovenly dressed for some reason.

So, now we have a movie about not killing filled with killing. After hearing the music for the Wild Bunch, an actual violent western that had something to say and didn't bang you over the head saying it, tracked in for the action scenes, I gave up.

A couple of creatives quit or disowned this pile of illogical horse dropping, so I joined them and turned it off 20 minutes in.
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The final bomb that flattened Taylor's movie career
BruceCorneil22 January 2017
A brutal and uninspired revenge Western, this was the second really bad film that Rod Taylor starred in during 1973 with its immediate predecessor being the almost - as - bad "Trader Horn".

As for "The Deadly Trackers", The New York Times called it "viciously senile" and warned that it contained nothing more than "fireworks and gore". Even Leonard Maltin, a frequent advocate for the versatile Australian actor, has dismissed it as being just plain "dreadful". And, sadly, I would have to agree.

Indeed, it turned out to be the final bomb that flattened Taylor's movie career.By the mid-'70s he'd become trapped on a runaway train to cinematic oblivion. With his stay at the top seemingly over, he would be increasingly called upon to do nothing more substantial than lend his name to a string of low budget obscurities.Some were fair. But most were unworthy of his talent. Still, he continued to work regularly and better chances came his way on television via guest shots and support roles.
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Tasteless and poorly-made...the western genre taking a dive into the gutter
moonspinner5522 February 2011
Peace-loving Irish sheriff in a small town on the Texas-Mexico border single-handedly goes after a pack of scurrilous bank robbers whose leader is responsible for the death of the sheriff's wife and child. The western genre of late-'60s/early-'70s cinema took a sour turn once the production code was abolished and the ratings system established, allowing films to push the boundaries of their violence and language. By the time "The Deadly Trackers" has dispensed with its godawful credits sequence (which is nothing more than dialogue from the film dubbed over grainy stills from the shoot), we've already heard enough expletives and racial slurs than any number of films from John Wayne's heyday. Two of the picture's principle sequences involve holding loaded guns to the heads of children, while the talents of Richard Harris and Rod Taylor are thoroughly trashed. Buffs may find some tension here, but the direction (by Barry Shear, filling in for the fired Samuel Fuller) is weak, and the production is depressingly cheapjack. A foul-mouthed, mercilessly elongated bore. * from ****
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A Violent Tale of Old West Vengeance
zardoz-1318 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Rod Taylor is incredibly obnoxious as a murderous bank robber in one and only theatrical western that director Barry Shear of "Across 110th Street" helmed. In "The Deadly Trackers," Richard Harris portrays a pacifist lawman who pursues Taylor and his gang of ruffians into Mexico. This violent oater, about a sheriff who refuses to buckle on a six-gun but then changes his mind after the odious villain shoots our hero's wife in the face when he abducts his son, is a good western. Harris milks the role for everything that he can, and "Monte Walsh" scenarist Lukas Heller's screenplay, based on Sam Fuller's original story, treats the subject of revenge with insightful irony. The seasoned cast is definitely worth watching, especially the scenery chewing Taylor, who has never been better as a bad guy. Taylor gives new meaning to the word detestable. He is a dastard through and through. The story that he relishes telling about his ornery father and how his dad died of hoof and mouth disease is macabre but amusing. Neville Brand and William Smith, who co-starred on the short-lived NBC-TV series "Laredo," are reunited as two of Frank Brand's outlaw accomplices. Brand plays an absurd villain who has a chunk of railroad rail attached one hand. Although it looks interesting, how would a man handle such an unwieldy encumbrance. Good things aside, the only thing more annoying than the slide-show at the outset is the use of recycled music cues from Jerry Fielding's "Wild Bunch" score. "The Trackers" boasts plenty of tenacious action, and Taylor challenges Harris effectively from start to finish. Several veteran western character actors flesh out the cast, like William Bryant cast as Harris' deputy.

"The Deadly Trackers" opens with an irritating slide show sequence that introduces us to both the good guys and the bad guys. Shear must have thought that it would look cool, but it did nothing for me and it just slows things down. Frank Brand (Rod Taylor of "The Train Robbers") and his gang, consisting of Cho0-Choo (Neville Brand of "Riot in Cell Block 3"), School Boy (William Smith of "Darker Than Amber"), and Jacob (Paul Benjamin of "Hoodlum"), ride into Santa Rosa to hold up the bank. They get the loot, and Brand shoots the teller in the face. Schoolboy shoves a knife into a customer's belly and takes his bowler hat. Before these desperadoes can clear out of town, Sheriff Sean Kilpatrick (Richard Harris of "Camelot") and his townspeople cut down and round them up. All escape Brand who storms into a school and takes a young boy hostage who happens to be Kilpatrick's son. Brand makes several demands, more prominently, that the lawman shed their firearms, collect their horses, and give them the loot that they stole. Brand promises to deposit the boy at the edge of town. Predictably, everything goes awry. Katharine Kilpatrick chases Brand and tries to dislodge her son from his clutches. Brand blasts her with his six-gun. A visibly shocked Kilpatrick straps on a six-gun and crosses the border in pursuit of the gang.

Once he crosses into Mexico, Kilpatrick kills Schoolboy, but he is arrested by a forthright Mexican policeman, Gutierrez (Al Lettieri of "The Godfather"), who struggles to reason with him about the role of a policeman. Gutierrez locks up our hero in jail after a mob mistakes him for the felons who killed an old man and an old woman. Eventually, Kilpatrick manages to escape and go after the gang. During the finale, things come full circle, as Brand visits an orphanage where his young daughter lives, and Kilpatrick takes her hostage to flush out the villain.
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poor western
Ken-799 August 1998
Although this western feature has much big name talent, it however fails in quality. The plot is thin.There is too much unnecessary violence. Direction is poor.
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Sam Peckinpah's Love Child
inspectors714 March 2013
Sadistic trash. Barry Shear's supremely vulgar revenge western, THE DEADLY TRACKERS, is at best a replacement for Ipecac--both are guaranteed to induce vomiting. Shear has hatched (who would accuse him of direction?) a nearly unwatchable and sickeningly gory story of a pacifist sheriff (Richard Harris) whose family is murdered by four thugs (lead by a sociopathic Rod Taylor), and he rides into Mexico in hot pursuit.

As the body count builds and the desecration of elderly farmers and prostitutes builds to a crescendo, one might wonder if it's okay to miss Peckinpah's repulsive but artistic THE WILD BUNCH.

I choose to miss Richard Harris as Dumbledore.
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