Near the Mexican border loner Brando, a hoary buffalo hunter whose wife has been murdered by Indians, enters a church to promise God he will begin a new sinless life, breeding beautiful Appaloosa horses (similar in markings but bigger than pintos). While Brando's occupied, Comer steals his
horse from the front of the church to escape her sadistic boy friend, Saxon, a bandit chief. She is returned to Saxon who later offers Brando money for the animal but is refused. The bandit and his men then waylay Brando in the desolate wilds, taking his horse and humiliating him by dragging him
rope-tied through a rocky stream. He recovers from his terrible wounds, goes to Saxon's hideout, and loses a wrestling match, wherein he is stung by a scorpion and left to die. Brando cuts out the poison with broken glass and, with Comer's help, revives and again goes to the bandit's camp, where
he shoots several henchmen and leaves with Comer. She has hated Saxon, she says, ever since she was sold to him as a child. Saxon and cronies pursue the pair, trapping them in the mountains. Brando, realizing he loves the girl more than he loves his horse, lets the Appaloosa go. Saxon shoots at
the horse, his hiding place revealed, and Brando kills him. He and Comer than mount the prize animal and ride away to begin anew.
Director Furie's stylistic method of dwelling on certain scenes, a penchant for close-ups so large and exasperating as to blot out the screen and confuse the vision, worked effectively in his IPCRESS FILE, but here his shots of teeth, guns, horses' eyes, Brando's jowls, and Comer's brow are
merely specious, distracting, and as amateurish as a TV director shooting into the sun for reflection or allowing water on the camera lens to remind the viewer that technicians are present. Moreover, this film is a blatant exploitation of Brando's recently completed ONE-EYED JACKS, with a story
and location that are almost identitical to that film's. Furie, to be fair, also had difficulty with Brando, a truculent actor who insisted that his interpretation of his character take precedence over Furie's (what else is new?). This was the great actor's second excursion into the western genre,
and the more he immersed himself into the Old West, the more bizarre his characters became, until he sank into the bubble-bathed idiocy of THE MISSOURI BREAKS.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Near the Mexican border loner Brando, a hoary buffalo hunter whose wife has been murdered by Indians, enters a church to promise God he will begin a new sinless life, breeding beautiful Appaloosa horses (similar in markings but bigger than pintos). While B… (more)