The Hills Run Red (1967)

the hills run red 1967

Minor spaghetti from Dino De Laurentiis starring Thomas Hunter along with Dan Duryea and an over the top Henry Silva. It’s the usual lead filled epic you’d expect from the genre. I prefer my spaghetti with Lee Van Cleef but this will do in a pinch. It was nice to see one of my favorites in Duryea.

Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) and Ken Seagall are riding a wagon carrying an army payroll. Up ahead…Yankees. They draw cards to see who stays with the wagon and who takes off with the money. Ken says it could buy a nice ranch. Jerry draws the low card and Ken takes off. Before he leaves Jerry makes him promise to take care of his wife and young son.

The Yankees catch up with the wagon. Jerry says he was alone. The don’t believe him and use him for a punching bag. The war is over but..so what? Jerry will spend the next five years in prison.

Five years later Jerry is released. He doesn’t know it but Ken owns a big ranch. Jerry rides home only to find it abandoned. There’s a diary with an entry written by his wife that says she was told Jerry was killed in the war. She doesn’t believe it.

Ken, now under a different last name, finds out that Jerry is free. He orders his foreman Garcia Mendez (Henry Silva) to send two men to kill him.  When they get to Jerry’s place they open fire and Jerry heads for the barn. In the hayloft is Winny Getz (Dan Duryea). He tosses him a pistol with two shots. He makes one count and needs a knife to to finish off the other shooter.

Getz knows he’s out for revenge after finding out Ken refused his wife a loan and she was tossed off the ranch. She’s dead and Ken has his son. Getz says he should make Ken think he’s dead. He tells Jerry that he’s out of work and needs a job. He’ll get one at Ken’s ranch. To prove Jerry’s dead Getz takes a knife and cuts a tattoo off Jerry’s arm that has his wife’s name in a heart. It works and Getz is hired.

Jerry goes into Austin to Horner’s saloon and starts winning at craps. Saloon singer Hattie Gradner is upset that it’s distracting from her awful performance. Two of Mendezs’ men come in. One throws a three and insists it’s a seven and takes the money. Horner tries to toss them out. No luck. Then Jerry takes over and kills both of them.

On the trail Jerry runs into a small boy practicing with a slingshot. No doubt it’s his son Timmy. Later Mendez and a group of his men run into Jerry and the battle is on. Jerry takes care of all of them. As they around all tuckered out Mendez draws his pistol. Instead of killing Jerry he hires him.

At the ranch Getz doesn’t let on he knows him. Ken’s sister Mary Ann hears Jerry calling out in his delirium and goes to help him. Outside she’s confronted by Mendez who says she’ll go off with him one day to Mexico whether she likes it or not. He says she’ll learn.

Twelve of the men are going to ride out the next day with horses. Jerry sneaks into town and gets Horner to gather some men and ambush them on the trail. It’s a success….almost. One man survives and rides back to the ranch and tells Mendez what happen. He know someone double crossed them but can’t figure out who.

Mendez gets all the men together. It’s time to go to Austin and wipe everybody out. Mendez and Jerry are riding together. They get to a blacksmith’s place where Timmy stays. Jerry makes an excuse to get away from Mendez long enough to give Timmy a note to deliver to Horner warning him about what’s about to happen.

Timmy gets to town and Hattie grabs the note. She makes sure Horner doesn’t get it. The gang rides in and opens fire on everybody. Jerry gets upstairs and tells Horner what’s going on and he rides off. Everyone else is headed for Boot Hill.

Back at the ranch there’s a big party to celebrate their victory. Jerry and Mendez get into it when Jerry refuse to drink to the victory. Ken wants to know what’s going on. Jerry turns slowly and tells Ken who he is and what he’s going to do. He manages to grab Timmy and ride into Austin. The town is deserted…except for Getz.

Now there’s an unbelievable showdown between Jerry and Getz against Mendez and everyone else.

But wait….there’s more. There’s a nice little twist at the very end. There are a lot better spaghetti westerns out there but it’s always good to see Dan Duryea and Henry Silva is fun to watch as the psycho foreman.

The soundtrack is awful. It’s no wonder the usually reliable Ennio Morricone used the alias Leo Nichols.

Thomas Hunter

Thomas Hunter

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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