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When a gang of outlaws led by Sam Clayton (Jack Palance) virtually
invade the hometown of young Johnny (Leif Garrett), son of saloon owner
Jenny (Sybil Danning), that's bad enough, but when they also shoot
Johnny's best friend, reverend John (Lee Van Cleef), who has been like a
father to him, that's too much for the boy, he loses his voice, and he
rides through the desert to fetch Father John's brother Lewis (Lee Van
Cleef again), the reverend's dead ringer, to avenge his death.
a gunman once, but his clergyman berother made him change his ways, and
thus he decides to exact revenge without even firing a single shot - by
dressing up as his late brother and scare the living shit out of Clayton's
gang. And really, most gangmembers get so spooked out by Lewis' little
charade that they shoot each other dead.
Meanwhile, Sam though has
learned that Johnny is actually his son from a rape, and he starts having
fatherly feelings for the boy, even though Johnny despises him, and takes
off with Johnny and his mother, leaving his gang to Lewis' revenge and the
angry mob, who only now dare to come out of their holes when the odds have
turned in their favour.
It all boils down to a duel in an abandoned
mission between Sam and Lewis, and Lewis seems to defeat Sam by simply
shooting the gun out of his hand ... but Sam has another gun concealed in
a bag full of money - though when he tries to fetch that, Johnny finds his
voice again just in time to warn Lewis, who shoots Sam in self-defense.
too bad Spaghetti Western thanks to fine pacing and a slick directorial
effort - but on a story level, it unfortunately repeatedly borders plain
kitsch, especially the whole Johnny-subplot (kids and Spaghetti
Westerns just don't mix, do they?). On the other hand, the film also
clearly has its moments, like when Lewis tricks teh outlaws to shoot each
other, or (in an extremely cynical scene), when the townsfolks, who did
little to prevent the outlaws from raping the female personnel of Jenny's
saloon, suddenly come out of their holes when they find one defenseless
outlaw to tear him apart (rather virtually).