In 1880 New Mexico, a group of European hunters runs afoul of the Apache but is aided by an ex-cavalryman turned guide.


Apache country has become a bit of a tourist attraction for rich folk around the world. A European aristocrat and his entourage – including a gorgeous countess (Brigitte Bardot) – have come to New Mexico to hunt big game, but instead of having a good old time like they expected, they’re waylaid at a fort by a legion of Apache Indians. The hired guns the aristocrat hired to lead his hunting party turn into the brigands they always were and rob them blind and make off with every bit of valuables they own, while the Apaches close in. Left close to defenseless, they will all surely die, but along comes handsome loner Shalako (Sean Connery), who sees they are in need and decides to help them. He leads them into the mountains where the Apaches will have a tough time killing them, and sure enough Shalako and his followers – including the dead-eye aim countess – pick off the Apaches one by one until the Europeans make a fatal mistake, leaving Shalako to defend them all in a one-on-one fight with the Apache Chief’s son (played by Woody Strode).

A fairly unremarkable western with some really good shoot-outs and stunts, Shalako was based on a book by Louis L’Amour. Connery is capable in a stalwart hero role, and his co-stars did commendable jobs in their roles, but the movie itself is a little lackluster and lengthy to completely recommend it. The drab vistas and cinematography only make the movie look washed out and (sorry to say it) old. Even the score by Robert Farnon is forgettable. Diehard western aficionados will enjoy it, but casual fans of the genre will be bored by it. Directed by Edward Dmytryk.

Kino Lorber’s new blu ray of Shalako offers a generic looking high definition transfer of the film (a disappointment, sadly), but at least it looks marginally improved from the previous DVD release from MGM. Filmmaker Alex Cox (Repo Man) provides a fan’s perspective audio commentary.

About the Author

david j. moore
david j. moore is the author of World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies and the upcoming book The Good, the Tough and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars, coming April, 2016 from Schiffer Publishing.