Spaghetti western veterans Anthony Steffen and William Berger star in this 1969 film written and directed by Sergio Garrone. A decent film, but nothing spectacular, as usual in this sort of film, the body count is high, the action unrelenting. The beautiful Nicoletta Machiavelli stars as a woman named Maya, the innocent female fought over by the villain, Fargo, portrayed by the director’s brother, Ricardo Garrone, to good effect.
The story here is relevant in today’s world. Illegal Mexicans being slipped across the border to work in American ranchers’ fields, the owners disgruntled because the blacks wouldn’t do the work anymore since the war. The American government, in the form of military troops, vows to stop the illegal trade. The villain, Fargo, runs a network that recruits Mexicans and ships them across the border. If there’s any danger of being caught, as they were early in the film, the wagons are pushed off a cliff into a river with all fifty peons dying.
Johnny Brandon(Steffen) is a bounty hunter out to clean it up. He takes down a few early in the film. Steffen does a serviceable job in the film. Not a great actor, the best I have heard is wooden, it works for the sort of hero that is all to often seen in this type of film. He has a sidekick played by another veteran, Mario Brega, a hefty man who usually plays the villain.
Everett “Preacherman” Murdock(Berger) is another bounty hunter, a bible reading, milk drinking violent man who carries one of those odd weapons that turn up in these types of westerns. A seven barreled shotgun, a center barrel with six around it. By it’s design, it could have held but one shell for each barrel, but in one sequence i a saloon, he fires off fifteen shots, I counted them, in about ten seconds. Berger is a much better actor.
As mentioned, lots of action, bloodshed, and body count with a twist thrown in at the end I didn’t guess.
A decent film with a routine music score. i guess I’m spoiled by Ennio Morricone and a few others. While so much of this sub-genre of westerns has a lot of the elements of American westerns, it was the music scores that often set them apart. This score, by Vasili Kojucharov and Elsio Mancuso, gets the job done. Just barely.
If you’re a spaghetti western fan like me, you will enjoy this one. Here’s the trailer, in Italian. Couldn’t find an English language version.