Who would have thought blue-eyed Paul Newman would ever play an American Indian in a Western movie? At the time the movie was released (1967), Newman was fast becoming a major star.
Of course, the script was helped along (basically lifted from the pages) by the Western novel written by Elmore Leonard. Leonard was stepping into his own at the time the novel was released in 1961, and Hollywood snapped this one up quick.
The story is fairly simple. Paul Newman plays a white man named John Russell who was captured and raised by Apache Indians. Russell returns to his father's boarding house to gather his inheritance, a gold watch and the house. He promptly sells the house, much to the chagrin of the people living there, and decides to spend the money on a herd of horses.
I love the way Russell gets paired up with an Indian agent who's been stealing from the Indians he was supposed to represent, his racist wife, and a woman who was once in love with a member of the outlaw gang that holds up the stage.
Newman portrays taciturn Russell to a T, quiet and reserved and quick to act once he decides on a course of action. Richard Boone stars as the outlaw leader, Cicero Grimes, and steals the show on occasion.
The twists and turns of the plot and the shifting alliances and motivations between the characters is awesome. If you haven't seen this movie and you love Westerns, well then, you'd best get to it.