Anthony Steffen was born Antonio Luiz De Teffè, the son of the Formula 1 champion and then ambassador Manoel de Teffe. He was one of the stars of the spaghetti western genre, appearing in a large number of them. One thing I noticed is that Steffen must have owned the hat he wore in every one of them. Less a ten gallon stetson, more on the order of four or five maybe, I’ve never seen him without it.
Steffen plays a mysterious character known as Shenandoah that rides into town and gets immediately braced by a pair in the saloon, they trying to force him into a fight with a pretended slight. He won’t bite, flashing a big roll of bills and getting himself invited to a poker game with the two men and a gambler named Jerry Krueger(Arturo Dominici, billed as Arthur Kent). Of course, cheating goes on and gets a saloon brawl started between Shenandoah and the two men, which our hero wins. The gambler notes an interesting fact to a fellow outlaw, Murdock(another spaghetti vet, Eduardo Fajardo): the roll of bills in Shenandoah’s been using are counterfeit. They resolve to keep an eye on him.
Shenandoah worms his way into the gang when he forces a soft bank robbery into a full assault. Two men were to quietly take the bank late at night while the gang waited outside of town as back-up if anything went wrong. What went wrong was Shenandoah firing a couple of shots in the air from concealment. As the gng is storming out of town, one is wounded and left behind, to be rescued by Shenandoah himself.
In order to gain full partnership in the gang, Shenandoah must pass an initiation. He has a gun with two bullets, the opponent he must kill has two loaded six guns. They are sent into a valley for the hunt. Here’s where we begin to learn about Shenandoah’s motivations. Two years before, the gang had held up a stage and one passenger, a woman, had been brutalized, then killed. She was Shenandoah’s wife and he wants the killer.
The only man who knows his true identity, and we don’t learn that until the finale, is a rancher named Wilson. Shenandoah risks his life to warn the man when the gang sets out to rob him and gets caught at it. Here’s another staple of one of Steffen’s westerns: he’ beaten bloody and senseless by the gang. It seems to happen in every one, though he of course prevails in the end.
The finale is well staged with the last confrontation between Joe Logan(Shenandoah’ real name) and the killer he’s been hunting for two years.
As mentioned, entertaining but not terribly original. One final note: the review over at FISTFUL OF PASTA asks one thing I’ve thought about often. What did Steffen’s voice really sound like. All the big stars for that matter. The English voice was rarely the same and often sounded totally off for a particular actor.