The Tramplers Directed by Albert Band.
Wild East, USA.
Format: NTSC Region 0.
Lon Cordeen (Gordon Scott) returns home from the Civil
War and is shocked to discover that his Southern hometown is a site of much
Lon’s father, Temple Cordeen
(Joseph Cotten), simply cannot accept that the Confederates have lost the
Temple rules the locality with an
iron fist and he’s not above lynching any Northerners who come to town with
news of emancipation for his slaves.
Furthermore, he’s using his gang of extended family members to forcibly
grab any local land that takes his fancy.
When Lon and his brother Hoby (James Mitchum) defy Temple and embark on
a cattle drive venture with Charley Garvey (Franco Nero), the scene is set for
a savagely fought family feud.
Based on an American source story, ‘Guns of North Texas’
by Will Cook, this show’s larger narrative arc contains elements that aren’t
often found in Spaghetti Westerns.
Certainly the focus on the ins and outs of family life in the post-Civil
War South and the cattle drive that Lon and Hoby undertake serve to distinguish
this show from most other Italian Westerns.
The cattle drive in particular plays an important narrative function
Lon and Hoby’s mother wants the
two boys to leave the family home before they become as bitter and hate-filled
as their father and other brothers.
the same time, Temple wants Lon and Hoby to prove their loyalty by killing
Charley Garvey, a local settler who is courting their sister Bess (Emma
Choosing the most peaceful option, Lon, Hoby, Charley and
Bess take their cattle on a drive North and some really quite epic-looking
scenes involving lots of animal wrangling follow.
Most of the cattle drive footage was filmed
in Argentina but this location footage is expertly integrated into the main
feature in a fairly seamless manner.
disloyalty shown by Lon, Hoby, Bess and (before long) a further Cordeen sister,
Alice (Muriel Franklin), soon drives Temple to distraction and he orders
assassins to seek out and punish his children.
This results in some pretty good action scenes.
However, director Albert Band saves his best
action scene for the show’s finale.
subplot has the daughter (Ilaria Occhini) of a Northerner that Temple lynched
returning to town on a revenge mission.
Her actions result in an impressively action-packed running shoot out
that sees Lon and Hoby taking on Temple, their other brothers and their
extended family in a fight to the death.
This unusual but well-paced and compelling little show is
quite thoughtfully plotted and well-acted for the most part.
Joseph Cotten is convincing as the fanatical
Confederate Temple Cordeen and the lynching of a Northerner that he oversees at
the start of the film makes for a pretty disturbing scene.
Gordon Scott is quite commanding as Lon and James
Mitchum really impresses as Hoby.
is the youngest of several Cordeen brothers and Mitchum does a great job of
telegraphing how a series of bitter experiences result in Hoby undergoing a
personal transformation: he starts the show as a good-natured individual and
ends it as a grizzled gunfighter.
Nero gets to play a character who is more of an idealistic lover than a cynical
There’s an obviously
“psychological” aspect attached to some of the characters’ motivations and
actions here and this serves to link the film to some of the more mature US
Westerns from the 1950s but the brutality found in the show’s action scenes is
unmistakably that of the nascent Spaghetti Western genre.
Ultimately, this mix of approaches makes for
an interesting film.
Picture quality here falls between very good and
excellent and the presentation’s sound quality is excellent too.
The show’s effective and at times quite
unusual soundtrack score (composer A. F. Lavagnino employs un-generic sounding keyboards
on a number of occasions) comes through loud and clear.
Extras: a really extensive image gallery and two
© 2014 copyright Lee Broughton.