The Last Hard Men (film)
The Last Hard Men is a 1976 Western film directed by Andrew McLaglen, based on the 1971 novel Gundown by Brian Garfield. It stars Charlton Heston and James Coburn, with supporting roles by Barbara Hershey, Jorge Rivero, Michael Parks, and Larry Wilcox in his screen debut.
|The Last Hard Men|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrew V. McLaglen|
|Produced by||Walter Seltzer|
|Written by||Guerdon Trueblood|
by Brian Garfield
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Edited by||Fred A. Chulack|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|June 1, 1976|
In 1909 Arizona, Captain Sam Burgade has retired from his law enforcement career with the Arizona Rangers. Hoping for peace and quiet, he suddenly learns that his old enemy, Zach Provo, has escaped from a Yuma prison with other convicts. Zach Provo is a half-Indian outlaw who dream of enacting revenge on Burgade, not only for putting him away, but for the death of his Indian wife, was killed in crossfire
Years before, Burgade was shot by Provo and barely survived, but later sent Provo to prison. Out for revenge, Provo does not go after a cash shipment as Burgade expects but instead kidnaps Burgade's daughter, Susan.
The six escaped men form an ambush. Provo allows two of them to sexually assault Susan, assuming Burgade will show himself in an attempt to rescue her. Burgade has been knocked unconscious, however, and is unable to intervene.
Setting a fire to smoke out the fugitives, Burgade is able to dispose of them one by one until only Provo is left. But he finds himself at gunpoint, then is shot by Provo several times and about to die when he is able to retaliate at last.
- Charlton Heston as Sam Burgade
- James Coburn as Zach Provo
- Barbara Hershey as Susan Burgade
- Jorge Rivero as Cesar Menendez
- Michael Parks as Sheriff Noel Nye
- Larry Wilcox as Mike Shelby
- Thalmus Rasulala as George Weed
- Morgan Paull as Portugee Shiraz
- John Quade as Will Gant
- Robert Donner as Lee Roy Tucker
- Christopher Mitchum as Hal Brickman
- Riley Hill as Gus Stanton
New York Times film critic, Richard Eder gave the film a mostly positive review, writing, "'The Last Hard Men" is not just a horse opera; it's practically Tristan and Isolde. Only the love-death relation isn't between a man and a woman but between a retired lawman and a half-breed Navajo who is obsessed with the notion of killing him ... Some of the chases are well done, particularly a night scene when the daughter tries to escape the bandits and is hauled back. I liked the dry performance of Michael Parks as the young sheriff who has more faith in his telephone than in old-fashioned shoot-outs.'
Variety magazine said of the film, "The Last Hard Men is a fairly good actioner with handsome production values and some thoughtful overtones...The details of life at a crucial transition point in American history are well captured in the script and in the art direction."