Polonsky's return to direction after 21 blacklist years since Force of Evil, with a contemporary Western about a manhunt for a Piute Indian (Blake, excellent) presumed guilty of a crime defined by circumstance rather than by fact. The allegory about witch-hunting is there for the asking, taken a stage further than usual in the bitter irony whereby the hitherto Americanised Willie, accused in effect of being an Indian, gradually reverts to being an Indian in the archetypally savage sense. A powerful film, even though the script wears its liberal conscience on its sleeve (and further hedges its bets by casting nice Robert Redford as the sheriff), directed with austere authority in desert landcapes marvellously shot by Conrad Hall.
Cast and crew
Robert Redford Katharine Ross Robert Blake Susan Clark Barry Sullivan Charles McGraw John Vernon Shelly Novack