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.
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Around the turn of the 20th century, during a harsh northern California winter, members of a ranching family are squabbling among themselves while the two oldest sons go hunting for a panther that is killing their livestock.
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In the early 20th century, some convicts while on a road gang escape and one of the convicts is Zach Provo, a half Indian, who was sent to prison during the latter part of the 19th century. He escapes with 6 others to exact vengeance on Sam Burgade the lawman who not only captured him but was also responsible for the death of Provo's wife, at least in Provo's mind. Part of his plan is to kidnap Burgade's daughter, which prompts him to strap on his guns and go after him on horseback. Can Burgade who has been retired for sometime still have what it takes to track Provo down?Written by
This is a minor 70s Western, directed with rather too much stolidity by Andrew V. McLaglen. Heston hasn't quite got the form in the genre to pull off the ageing lawman role, although you can certainly see his ornery old Republican role being practised before your eyes; Coburn is good as the psychotic halfbreed outlaw looking for revenge, but he needed a director who encouraged him to loosen up more and go loco.
The film does score points, though, in its nastiness. There is a genuinely sadistic universe on show here, as if in the last days of the Wild West the outlaw and the marshal both were reduced to being little more than collections of violent spasms, each twitch aimed at causing some torment to another human being, and each situation causing more twitchin'.
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