In 1909 Arizona, retired lawman Sam Burgade's life is thrown upside-down when his old enemy Zach Provo and six other convicts escape a chain-gang in the Yuma Territorial Prison and come gunning for Burgade.
In the early 20th century, some convicts while on a road gang escape and one of the convicts is Zach Provo, a half Indian, who was sent to prison during the latter part of the 19th century. He escapes with 6 others to exact vengeance on Sam Burgade the lawman who not only captured him but was also responsible for the death of Provo's wife, at least in Provo's mind. Part of his plan is to kidnap Burgade's daughter, which prompts him to strap on his guns and go after him on horseback. Can Burgade who has been retired for sometime still have what it takes to track Provo down?Written by
Violent but entertaining Western with a duel of titans : Heston versus Coburn
In the early 20th century, a bandit named Zach Provo, a half Indian, (Provo well played by James Coburn , who was sent to prison during the latter part of the 19th century) leads a band of outlaw convicts on a jailbreak . Provo (Sean Connery and Robert Shaw were considered for the role) along with with 6 others to exact vengeance on Sam Burgade (a tough-guy splendidly performed by Charlton Heston) , an upright lawman , whose daughter (a very young Barbara Hershey) is abducted and threatening to gang-rape her . Provo seeks vendetta on Burgade because he not only captured him but was also responsible for the death of Provo's wife, at least in Provo's mind . At the beginning , the wild bunch holds up a train and attempt a bank until a bloody vengeance . The misfit group is formed by cutthroat guys (Jorge Rivero , Larry Wilcox , Thalmus Rasulala , Morgan Paull , John Quade ,Robert Donner) who kidnap the daughter and threat to rape but it goes wrong . This is the story about some men making their last stand and carrying out a merciless revenge .
This decent Western packs lots of action , shootouts, and explosive violence , including some tasteless images . Go riding , crossfire and fights provide some welcome distraction . Taut excitement throughout , beautifully photographed and spectacular bloodletting filmed in slow moving ; it was shot "in the style of Sam Peckinpah" . Rich in texture and including intelligent screenplay full of incredibly violent scenes . However , it has some appalling and disgusting rape frames entirely out of place . This motion picture is set in 1909 Arizona which is arguably right at the end of the old wild American western frontier era period if not it already having ended by the 1890s , as there is an occasional elegiac tone lamenting the passing of the West . This Western picture was based on the novel "Gun Down" by Brian Garfield ; and it was made and released about five years after its source book that had been first published in 1971 . Vibrant as well as brilliant all-star-cast displays exceptional performances . Charlton Heston is perfect as a veteran ex-sheriff with his own ethic codes . This is Charlton Heston's last name rhymes with Western , four years after this 1976 film, Heston would co-star in 1980's Mountain Men , another good western . James Coburn is terrific as a convict sets into motion plan of revenge on old Marshall . Furthermore , good secondaries such as and Jorge Rivero , Larry Wilcox , Thalmus Rasulala , Morgan Paull , John Quade , Robert Donner and Michael Parks as reform-minded Marshal. Enjoyable musical score , Jerry Goldsmith is credited with "Music" on the film's credits, the credit is misleading as he composed no original score for the film, instead it was tracked with cues from four other westerns he scored: 100 rifles (1969) ; Río Conchos (1964); Morituri (1965) and Stagecoach (1966) , which is why he did not receive a credit like "Original Music composed & Conducted by". Colorful and evocative cinematography in Panavisión by Duke Callaghan , Peckinpah's usual , and portions of this film were photographed at Old Tucson Studios, Tucson, Arizona .
This actioner motion picture was professionally directed by the veteran director of Westerns Andrew V. McLaglen , though Jack Smight and possibly Stuart Rosenberg were considered for the director . This was final cinema movie western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen who was a veteran of the genre . McLaglen though continued to direct a few more westerns for television. Andrew V. McLaglen, the veteran director of Westerns, is son of great actor Victor McLagen and known John Ford's disciple . Andrew holds the distinction of directing the most episodes of "Gunsmoke" . Furthermore , he holds the honor of filmmaking the most episodes of ¨Have gun , Will travel" (1957). And is one of the few directors to have directed both Clint Eastwood and John Wayne . He's a Western expert (McLintock, Shenandoah, Bandolero, Chisum, Cahill, Way west) and warlike specialist , such as proved in several films ( Return to Kwai, Wild Geese , Dirtdozen: the next mission, Sea wolves, Breakthrough ) . The Last Hard Men is a real must see for fans of the genre in Peckinpah style . Rating : Nice , acceptable and passable , 6 .
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