Just when the public had had enough of the standard western, along came THE REVENGERS, a standard western. The script, a routine melange of the usual stuff but with lots of money lavished on the big scenes, inexplicably attracted some big stars. Two of the original stars were replaced.
Mary Ure couldn't wait for Holden to recover from a temporary ailment and went off to do something else, so she was replaced with Hayward. Van Heflin was to have played the Borgnine role, but he died of a heart attack while swimming in the pool of his hotel in West Hollywood. Nearly 30 years had
passed since Hayward and Holden worked together in YOUNG AND WILLING, and here they were again, with Holden's son, Scott Holden, now in his mid-20s, playing the role of a lieutenant. Borgnine had also appeared with Hayward in DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS, but that was before he played the title
character in MARTY and catapulted to star status.
Holden is a Colorado rancher and a veteran of the Civil War who's been out in the wilds on a hunting expedition. He comes back to his spread to find his wife and four children dead at the hands of Comanches, who are led by Vanders, a renegade white man. With his family slain and all his stock
stolen Holden decides his next course of action is to exact revenge. Vanders is holing up in a small Mexican town, a village almost totally populated by thieves, brigands, and murderers. Holden masquerades as a mine owner looking for laborers and makes a deal with a Mexican warden, Prieto, to hire
six convicts: De Hoyos, Hanin, Strode, Luke, Koldehoff, and Borgnine, desperate men all. The sextet, all of different cultural backgrounds, compose the film's grimy (not dirty) half-dozen. Holden and the convicts pretend to be innocent trappers and make their way to the den of thieves. They attack
Vanders' hideout, but he gets away before they can catch him. Holden, who is used to leading men, finds that handling six convicts is not as easy as handling soldiers in the Army. After friction erupts into violence when Luke shoots Holden, the men think Holden is a goner, so they shake hands and
go off in various directions. Enter Hayward, an Irish woman who has come to the area to carve out a new life. She finds Holden and helps him recover his health, and in the natural course of movie events, they fall in love. Hayward does her best to dissuade Holden from his quest, but he is adamant.
He gains some of his strength back, bids her farewell with a promise to return, then sets out and is quickly captured by Prieto, who was fired from his warden's job for allowing the convicts to leave. Luke, learning that Holden is still alive (a surprise) and has been captured by Prieto, feels
guilty. He gathers together the other five men, and they rescue Holden. Meanwhile Vanders has been captured by the Army and is being held at a small post by Scott Holden and his soldiers. The Comanches attack the post in an attempt to free their leader. Holden and his crew arrive, use some
explosives from the Army's ammo dump, and toss some dynamite, causing the Indians to retreat. Luke is wounded in the fracas and soon dies. Finally Holden seeks out Vanders who is being held in a small shed. He walks in expecting to find the hard-bitten Vanders ready to fight back, but Vanders is
now a broken man, a coward pleading not to be hurt by Holden. Holden realizes his thirst for revenge has caused him to behave as much like an anmimal as the quarry has, so he leaves Vanders to face due process for his crimes. Holden climbs onto his horse and rides toward Colorado to put his life
The lighting was poor, the photography was ordinary, the dialog was dull, and the plot turns were predictable by several minutes. The title, however, was a winner, and the picture did some business until word of mouth began to dampen enthusiasm.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1972
- Rating: PG
- Review: Just when the public had had enough of the standard western, along came THE REVENGERS, a standard western. The script, a routine melange of the usual stuff but with lots of money lavished on the big scenes, inexplicably attracted some big stars. Two of the… (more)