Half-Apache Pardon Chato (Charles Bronson) finds himself in a bar fight with a bigoted sheriff and kills the man to save his own life. The locals won’t accept this defense, though, and angry Civil War veteran Quincey Whitmore (Jack Palance) rounds up a gang of toughs to track down Chato, who is forced to flee the scene. But when the posse finds Chato’s family and brutalizes them, the escapee decides it’s time to stop running and start taking revenge on the lynch mob.
Michael Winner’s “Chato’s Land” of 1972 starring the great late Charles Bronson and the equally grand Jack Palance, who also passed away recently, is a tough-minded and violent English Western which should not be missed, and a must-see for every Bronson fan. Director Winner, who is most famous for his violent 1974 cult classic “Death Wish”, is certainly one of the masters of uncompromising revenge cinema and “Chato’s Land”, Winners first collaboration with Bronson, is one of the movies which have rightly earned him this reputation.
When half-breed Apache Pardon Chato (Bronson) shoots a racist Sheriff in self defense in a Saloon, local men form a posse to catch him, in order to hang him as soon as possible. The posse is lead by former Confederate Captain Quincy Whitmore, who is more keen on the manhunt just for the good old times than out of hate towards Chato. The sadistic Hooker brothers who have also joined the posse, however, hate Indians of any kind, and they don’t have the slightest scruples of doing anything to make the fugitive pay for defending himself. As the posse members get deeper and deeper into the desert of Indian territory, however, they have to find out that they might have underestimated their opponent. This is Chato’s land, and in Chato’s land the hunters can quickly become the hunted…
The acting in “Chato’s Land” is great, Charles Bronson, who hardly says a word fits perfectly into his role. Jack Palance is superb in his role of Capt. Quincy Whitmore, and I couldn’t imagine anybody else but Bronson and Palance to play the leading parts in this. Simon Oakland and Richard Johnson are also great in their ugly roles of Jubal Hooker and his psychopathic little brother Earl, and the cast furthermore contains Richard Basehart. The film is very well photographed in the Spanish Almería, certainly the best location for European Westerns.
“Chato’s Land” is a brutal, tough-minded and great Western, which should not be missed by anybody who likes revenge movies. The performances are excellent, and the movie is stunning, raw and atmospheric from the beginning to the end. A must-see for Charles Bronson fans, Chato’s Land is a great film. Highly recommended.
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Genre: Western | Director: Michael Winner