Chad Stark(Brian Kelly) is given a chance to avoid hanging when he’s asked by a Mexican landowner, Don Hernando Guiterrez(Folco Lulli) to bring back his runaway son, Fidel(Fabrizio Moroni, billed as Fred Monroe), a young man who’d spurned a life of wealth and ease for that of an outlaw. He’d refused two men sent to bring him back and the Don hoped Stark could convince his son to come back. Five thousand in gold was kicked in as an inducement. I wondered watching as the boy’s mother looked less than pleased at the idea of her son being returned. She remains silent though.
The saloon brawl is gotten out of the way early when Stark makes contact with Fidel. A large Mexican objects to Fidel being with one of the bar girls and a fight breaks out. Stark had been sitting to the side and uses his bullwhip(he’s quite expert with it) to snatch a knife thrown at the boy out of the air. He fights both with the whip and his fists as the pair of them start to clean house. When the sheriff and his deputies arrive to break things up and the sheriff gets clubbed with a chair, they bail out the back.
The gang Fidel had been running with is led by Charlie Donegan(Keenan Wynne), a self styled ‘Major’ who’d never risen higher than corporal in the regular army. He runs his motley little band as if it were an army outfit. Stark knows him from their army days and discusses a plan to net them a million apiece.
A heavily guarded gold train makes a run ever so often, usually with something like two million in bullion aboard. The ‘Major’ had considered it before and dismissed it as impossible. Stark’s plan was to jimmy the tracks at a spot as it crosses a bridge, sending the train into the canyon below. All guards would be dead, they could take the gold at their leisure.
But it’s all a ruse to get the kid away from the ‘Major.’ He borrows him to do some scouting while the gang works on the track.
Thus begins the chase with Stark forcing the kid along, with Fidel attempting escape at every turn, and the ‘Major’ and his gang hunting them. The two start to like each other as they continually run into trouble and help each other out of it.
And things seem to go wrong at every turn. At a suspension bridge, they have to abandon their horses as their weight could be a problem. Walking across with their saddles, Stark steps on a weakened spot and falls through, barely catching hold. His saddle is gone, Fidel’s as well as he’d spotted the weak spot and maneuvered Stark over it. He’s on the run when Stark appears riding a horse, saddled, with no explanation of how he’d gotten them.
Next they are crossing the desert. Stark has abandoned the horse as “they barely have enough water for them and I need you alive.” As Fidel tries another escape with the water bag, Stark shoots it full of holes to stop him, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. They nearly die until they are found by a family headed to California, the Londonberrys. Stark finds himself attracted to the daughter, Sally(Erika Blanc), who’s with her parents, her kid brother, and her own son. Sally is quite content to nurse the pair, but is cool toward Stark at first. We learn her husband was killed by a gunman.
The finale has a big twist with a sustained shootout and then the ‘Major’ and his band arrives to finish things off.
Not a bad little film, but I do have disagreements with the reviewer on the Spaghetti Western Database. He cites the movie as an example of THE spaghetti western, even more so than Sergio Leone’s films in the genre. Yes, he completely lost me on that one.
YouTube doesn’t seem to have an English trailer so we give you the German version, which was on there twice. A nice look at the action anyway.