Written and Posted by Sarah
By the 1960s, film making and movie styles had changed. Bad guys like "Desperate Dan the Hatchet Man" weren't needed as often, so Dan Duryea had trouble finding roles. He signed on to play in a "spaghetti" Western in 1967 (the year before he died). The film was The Hills Run Red.
Not being a fan of "spaghetti" Westerns, it's hard to critique a film like this. Dan Duryea looks fabulous as Col. Getz. He also has some great "hero" shots in this one. When he waves farewell to Brewster's son at the end of the film --- well, it's just fabulous (and my all-time favorite Dan D. moment)! The music is that modern 1960s stuff (which doesn't fit in a Western), and the guns sound like a cross between a modern revolver and some Sci-Fi weapon out of Star Wars. But it's fun to see Dan Duryea at this late stage in his career.
I haven't actually seen the whole of this film. My sister has seen it, however, and informed me that the TCM synopsis is totally wrong. She was kind enough to write a short one for me to post here (in italics).
Don't read any farther if you haven't seen this film yet.
Pals Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) and Ken Seagall (Nando Gazzolo) steal a government payroll at the end of the Civil War. When soldiers close in, the two draw lots to decide who takes the money and who leads the soldiers away. Brewster loses and gets caught. After spending five years in prison, he returns to his home to find his wife and son. He finds his home abandoned, his wife dead and his son gone. Seagall (who has become a wealthy, powerful and hated rancher) gets word that Brewster is out and sends a gunman to kill him.
Brewster is helped by a stranger who says his name is Getz (Dan Duryea), but who refuses to disclose his profession. Getz makes it look like Brewster died in the fight, and together they plan to infiltrate Seagall's ranch by posing as ranch hands needing a job. Getting the jobs doesn't take long, and soon they are both employed by the nefarious rancher.
When Brewster helps some townspeople fight off some of Seagall's gunmen, he is attacked by a group of hands and Seagall's hired gun, Mendez (Henry Silva). Injured, he is taken back to the ranch and thrown in a barn. Seagall's sister, Mary Ann, finds him and takes care of him. While he is still recovering, he sneaks out of the barn and foils an attempt by Seagall to steal a herd from other ranchers. Eventually, Seagall realizes who Brewster is and it becomes a fight between the two former pals.
Getz and Brewster end up fighting Seagall's gunmen in town. Only Mendez escapes and returns to the ranch. Brewster follows. In the ensuing fight, Mendez is killed and Mary Ann is wounded. Brewster dresses up in Mendez's outfit and enters Seagall's house. He discloses his identity and they shoot it out. Of course, Seagall ends up dead.
Getz turns out to be a government agent who was sent to clean out Seagall's band of outlaws. He makes Brewster the new sheriff. He rides off into the desert, waving farewell to Brewster (who is now reunited with his son).