Despite the title, there is no Django in the movie. As was the fashion of the time, filmmakers rode the coattails of a popular feature. Sergio Corbucci’s DJANGO was the hot film and before it played out, there was a total of thirty, maybe more, unofficial “sequels” to the Franco Nero character. Instead, here the hero played by spaghetti veteran Anthony Steffen plays a bounty hunter named Reagen. Some versions replace the J with an I in the title sequence.
This film doesn’t hesitate to borrow from a number of genre films. Steffen constantly has his hat at an angle on his head identical to that worn by Nero in the original film and even a scene or two shot with him at that same head angle of the Django film poster. They even rip off Eastwood. Let’s see, poncho, riding in on a mule early in the film to get close to some gunmen he wanted. There is some nice framing on the scene with shots of two men arm wrestling, Reagen riding in on the mule in the arch formed by their arms, then the same angle between a man’s legs.
It’s a mash-up of different styles. The opening pure spaghetti western, the rest a more traditional western. The music by Carlo Savini gives the film a more serious tone at times. It does have plenty of violence and action though.
The plot here is Reagen has recovered the loot from a bank robbery by the Jim Norton(Frank Wolff) gang a few years before. The men he killed in that early scene were part of the gang. The story was that Norton had been killed in a gun fight some time before. The rest of the gang they wanted and to be sure that Norton was dead. It was known that Morton had a twin brother named Trevor(again, Wolff), an honest farmer up in Montana.
Reagen heads up to check it all out. He has to be careful as they don’t like bounty hunters In Montana and have been known to hang them. reagen also knows there’s near war up there between the ranchers and the farmers that are beginning to use barbed wire to close off their land.
Reagen enters the territory only to find a lawman dead, shot from his horse, one leg still caught in the saddle. He takes the badge and wears it as he enters town, with the intent to tell everyone about the dead lawman(but why confuse things by wearing the badge), he keeps getting cut off by the Mayor and local judge, assuming he’s the new law sent for after the last was murdered. He succumbs as he needs to stay quiet while he searches out Trevor Norton and tries to learn anything he might known about his brother.
The head of the ranchers is Amos Brandsbury(Alfonso Rojas), a charismatic man who is forcing the violence. Some of the ranchers want peace, there’s plenty of land, but he gets them to go along and plans to wipe out the farmers. He already knows Reagen is not the sheriff, he had the man killed and the pair who did the job swear they put a bullet in his head. He wants to see what sort of angle the new “Sheriff” is working.
Reagen gets some suspicion when he meets Trevor Norton. Though seemingly a meek, mild-mannered man, he has soft hands for a farmer. He’s already meet the man’s niece, Sally Norton(Gloria Osuna), daughter of the late outlaw recently arrived home from boarding school and rescued her from some hoorawing cowboys. An attraction is there between them.
The final showdown is pure spaghetti with a high body count, gunfire, and buildings burning.
The director is listed as Leon Kilmovsky, but conventional knowledge has that assistant director Enzo G. Castellari did the bulk, if not all the direction. He went on to direct eleven others in the spaghetti genre.
Geffen is effective to a degree here. Not the greatest actor of the time, he did better playing the lone. stoic, man of few words hero.
Not bad though.
Here’s the trailer, not in English, but the fun viloence and action plays the same in any language: