Formally, this is barely recognisable as a Peckinpah movie (producers hacked out 20 minutes, distributors l4 more); yet many of his major thematic preoccupations (loyalty, betrayal, redemptive death) are clearly emerging here as Major Dundee, a Federal officer relegated to command of a prison camp, sets out to subdue a band of marauding Apaches at the head of a rag-tag volunteer troop of thieves, renegades and paroled Confederate prisoners (the latter ambivalently headed by Harris). Of the many debts to Ford, the largest is Heston's Dundee, trading on his image of epic man of action but propelled, like Wayne in The Searchers, by racial hatred, worm-eaten by divided loyalties, and finally found wanting at the crunch. A fine if fractured Western, more subversive of conventional mythologies than it seems. CPea.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Harry Julian Fink, Oscar Saul, Don Starling, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, James Coburn, Michael Anderson Jr, Senta Berger, Mario Adorf, Brock Peters, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, RG Armstrong, LQ Jones, Slim Pickens, Sam Peckinpah, Howard Kunin|