(director: Don Medford; screenwriters: story by Gilbert Ralston & Lou Morheim/William Norton/Gilbert Alexander/Lou Morheim; cinematographer: Cecilio Paniagua; editor: Tom Rolf; music: Riz Ortolani; cast: Oliver Reed (Frank Calder), Candice Bergen (Melissa Ruger), Gene Hackman (Brandt Ruger), Simon Oakland (Matthew Gunn), Mitchell Ryan(Doc Harrison), L. Q. Jones (Hog Warren); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Lou Morheim; 1971-MGM-UK )

A vile revenge Western with a tired plot, too much gore and a miscalculated pretentiousness.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A vile revenge Western with a tired plot, too much gore and a miscalculated pretentiousness. Director Don Medford (“The Organization”/”To Trap A Spy”) is the wrong filmmaker for such a brutal undertaking. Either Sam Peckinpah or Ken Russell would have been better suited to further down-lift the British production and Spanish-shot Italian spaghetti Western into the dirt it deserved. It tells the tale of the illiterate outlaw (Oliver Reed) who mistakenly kidnaps the wife (Candice Bergen) of a sadistic Texas cattle baron (Gene Hackman), away on a hunting trip, and asks her to teach him to read even as his gang is soon hunted down by the rancher’s posse and his superior guns. It should be pointed out that the actual local teacher was not present at the school when the snatch took place. The acting is awful, the story is repulsive and the execution is cringe worthy. With the dying of thirst from the last man standing in the desert, the bloodthirsty film tests how strong a stomach the viewer has for such tripe. I suppose there are cruder and more lewd unwatchable Westerns, but this one gets my vote for consideration.