Grizzled American private detective in England investigates a complicated case of blackmail turned murder involving a rich but honest elderly general, his two loose socialite daughters, a pornographer and a gangster.
The rich and ruthless rancher Brandt Ruger keeps his beautiful young wife Melissa like a part of his property, subdued to his will. But one day she's kidnapped by the famous outlaw Frank Calder - just to teach him reading, so he tells her. Calder doesn't know or care who's wife she is. He takes care of her well, and eventually Melissa falls in love with him. But Ruger feels humiliated. Full of hate, he sets out to kill him - and Melissa too, if necessary. Together with his friends and the newest technology in guns, which carry 800 yards, he initiates a battue on Calder and his gang.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
During filming Oliver Reed admitted he did not enjoy having to affect an American accent. See more »
Gene Hackman's rifle (the caliber of which was unclear) is sufficiently powerful to kill from several hundred yards, yet he presses his eye against the scope eyepiece with no consequences. Any rifle that powerful has a significant kick, one that would have certainly damaged both his eye and the surrounding area. See more »
The UK cinema and video versions were cut by 1 minute 43 secs by the BBFC to remove horse-falls and to edit the attempted rape scenes of Melissa, the slaughter of a cow, blood spurts from gunshot wounds, and Ruger's bedroom assault of a hooker with a candelabra and a cigar. The 2015 Final Cut DVD restored most of the previous edits, with only a 2 second cut made to remove a horse-fall. See more »
Others see this film as bland or metaphorical. I saw it after considerable reading about the West as it truly was, not as a Zane Grey work of fiction or morality play. What I saw in this film was a fictional story powerfully based on accurate historical fact. Many of those facts are not pleasant or moral and violence is as much a part of this Western movie as it is of most others. What is unique here is the accurate inclusion of the actual methods and attitudes surrounding that violence. The Lone Ranger it is not. Neither is it metaphorical. My interest in, and modest knowledge of, the methods and technology of that time led me to be strongly involved when watching this movie. Some of the scenes brought out a strong feeling of dread: dreamlike realism. In that way, it is, in my mind, one of the most honest Westerns of all time.
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