He’s known only as Requiescant, Latin for Rest In Peace.
Lou Castel plays the odd man who remembers nothing about his past. We, though, see that he’s the only survivor of a massacre of a band of Mexicans by a group of Confederates late in the war, 1864, a small boy creased by a bullet across the top of his head. He’s found wandering by a traveling preacher and his wife and daughter and raised as a son.
And begins to build a reputation.
Quite by accident, he disrupts a stage hold-up right in the middle of a town, learning then of his abilities with a pistol, a good eye without any training, dispatching two of the robbers when he snatches a gun out of the air when the driver is killed, then later killing the two leaders, brothers, when they come after him. He gets the name Resquiescant because he makes the sign of the the cross and prays over every kill.
In the town where he finds the girl, Princy(Barbara Frey), she’s working as a prostitute, held prisoner by a man named Dean Light(Ferruccio Viotti). Requiescant goes to the big boss, George Ferguson(Mark Damon), who agrees to let the girl go. Though they never say it, an undercurrent surrounds Ferguson and Dean Light. One gets the distinct impression that Ferguson is a homosexual. He has a singular disdain for women, marrying only to get an heir, and has an affection for Light that goes beyond friendship. He even promises Light that “one day all this will be yours.”
Requiescant, with the help of an old Mexican mute who recognizes the scar on his head and knows who he is starts to remember the slaughter when he was a child. And also that Ferguson was the officer in charge that day.
That’s when all hell breaks loose. An old priest recruits him and helps bring down the murderers. Our hero plays a deadly game with Dean Light called Hangman’s Noose. Each man stands on a stool with a noose around his neck. At the stroke og midnight, they draw and try to shoot the stool from under the other man.
A much better film than I expected. Directed by Carlo Lizzani, the list of writers involved runs to eleven. Usually a bad sign. Not in this case though.