This town in Civil War era America has been overrun with the Confederate Army, as a General there has made it his base of operations, but there are signs that all is not as it seems when a selection of men not in uniform begin to make their way through the troops, knocking them out and causing increasing mayhem. By the time they reach the General's house, they are running rings around the soldiers and creating a diversion of a bar room brawl to boot, but they are doung this for a reason: to prove themselves worthy of the mission they are about to be assigned. Their leader, Clyde MacKay (Chuck Connors), listens to the plan intently...
This Spaghetti Western was, as many of its ilk, cheerfully unhistorical and centered around the action, and with director Enzo G. Castellari at the helm you knew you'd be in for plenty of that, never more than ten minutes away from an explosion in his accustomed manner. This time it was an American import who was the star in Connors, best buddy to both Ronald Reagan and Leonid Brezhnev and strapping leading man of the popular Western television series Rifleman, so continuing very much in that vein though in the case of the Clyde character exhibiting a decidedly antiheroic streak of greed and self-preservation.
Self-preservation at the expense of everyone else in the movie, that was, for the scheme Clyde and his band of mercenaries have gotten up to their necks in concerns the liberation of a stash of gold belonging to the Northerners, all ostensibly to ensure they cannot pay for more weapons because they currently have the Southerners on the run, but as was the way in the amoral world of this sort of entertainment, more likely to be lining the pockets of the thieves. Clyde has a motley crew of hardmen who will deploy various forms of aggression, be they a bullet between the eyes, a knife in the back or a knuckle sandwich in the kisser, and they all might as well have dollar signs lighting up in their eyes.
In fact, so focused on grabbing the cash are they that they have no time for anything else, and that means unusually for the style there is no love interest for any of them - all that stuff can wait until they get their loot. Therefore not one actress appeared before the cameras, this was strictly a boy's club where you could practically smell the testosterone, and every bit as heady as that sounded. Or every bit as offputting, depending on your preferences. The gold is stored in a fort a short way across the river, staunchly defended by about a hundred troops, and that can only lead to one thing: violence and lots of it, though in this case oddly bloodless and without much impact beyond the immediate spectacle.
Such was the way of Castellari who would apparently treat his action as the most important aspect of his movies, rather than the actors or the plot. Connors grinned his way through the proceedings as if without a care in the world, precisely the right type of actor for the movie, a recognisable face who could thow a punch and convince as a hard nut while still laying claim to some degree of roguish charm (and a shirt seemingly permanently open to the waist). The other cast members were not quite so lucky, tending to disappear into specific clichés that you'd expect to see in Spaghetti Westerns, but as it stood this barrelled along blithely from one stunt-filled setpiece to the next, one of the rare Westerns to include a bazooka (!). The general effect was a lot more shallow than richly conceived, and a samey quality did set in early on, but if it was a no-nonsense adventure you were after, this delivered, though whether it delivered on that title was something you could find out for yourself. Music by Francesco De Masi.