Plain and simple, the unsparing brutality of this film has earned it its legion of haters. That and the fact that a woman was shown being brutally murdered after being shot in her privates. It's tough to watch, even by today's standards. But, it's not dishonest, which is why I'm a fan.
I think this is almost a great film and completely unheralded. While it's not in the same league as THE WILD BUNCH, it treads upon similar territory, showing how brutal life was at that time and place and how one needed to become almost primal in order to survive. Plus, its message, albeit not a subtle one, that the rich can do with the poor and downtrodden as they please is still one that's sadly relevant.
I'd give it ***1/2 out of ****.
Many viewers are just turned off by the film's nasty approach to the material, a result of director Don Medofrd's attempt at a Peckinpah style western ( but without any redeemable characters).. The brutal aspects of the film are well done, but it is seriously undermined by several things.
Primarily The character of Melissa is absurd, she gets raped and tries to escape over and over, but finally caves in and falls in love over a jar of peaches.
Candice Bergen is also a terrible dramatic actress, granted anyone would have trouble with the lines she has to recite, but she's pretty bad in this ( passable as eye candy ).
Reed's terrible American accent comes and goes.
The rifles are depicted as hitting targets half a mile away with cross hairs zeroed directly in on their targets, in high winds. This is perhaps the least realistic detail i the film.
Saw this again last night on MGMHD channel.
I do not go crazy over gun stuff - perhaps not 100% correct, but the fact is that firearms do improve over through out history and at the time there probably was some new rifle that could have made an impression on a bunch of outlaws, even if the movie did not get it 100% correct --- although I think a lot of people know about windage, it was surprising that the writer or director did not
What I find hard to believe is that they would stop and goof off at the water hole begging to get ambushed again --they shuld have posted pickets a couple hundred yards from the water hole so they could see the dust of the hunting party riding up