“ This loquacious, pretentious, and ultimately sluggish sagebrusher about racism and civil rights—a little ahead of its time—foreshadowed Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" about a gunfighter hired by a town to protect it from a trigger-happy former Confederate soldier.
“ Clearly, producer & director Richard Wilson and wife Elizabeth had other ideas in mind when they contrived their offbeat screenplay from veteran television writer Alvin Sapinsley's adaptation of a story by "Johnny Carson's Tonight Show" monologue writers Hal Goodman and Larry Klein.
“Nattily dressed in a black suit and a ruffled white shirt, Jules is the strong, silent type, equally adept at playing poker, reciting poetry, and playing the harpsichord as he is engaging in "work and play" with his guns.
“ Long on dialog but contains an exciting final with surprising duel .
“ From the opening moment you see him hoisting himself onto the roof of the moving carriage to sit at the front by the driver, until the ending where he makes Brewster (The town's crooked boss played by Pat Hingle) kneel and admit his ways, it is compelling viewing.
“ Worth Watching .
“ Compelling tale of a gunman hired by townspeople to protect them from a disgruntled rebel soldier .
“ By turns it's stilted, silly and melodramatic, and the result is mostly just confusing.
“ A Bland Western Where the Characters Shoot Off Their Mouths More Than Their Six-Shooters .
“ Pretentious dialogue, irrational behavior, pointless scenes that go nowhere.
“ A gunslinger with a compelling and unique brand of personal honor arrives in the town of Pecos, New Mexico Territory, apparently in advance of a citizen who was sent on a mission to find one.
“ A modest little matinée western with little in way of style with its methodical direction, but leading the way are the strikingly prominent performances from Yul Brynner, George Segal, Pat Hingle, Janice Rule and backing it up is a lyrically well-oiled script stringed to a customary, but accessibly gripping premise that patiently builds upon its unfolding situations.
“This is a tremendously exciting story of a gunfighter-for-hire who had only one more killing to go.
“Yul Brynner turns in a compelling performance as the son of a slave who wants justice more than another payday.
“ For all its imperfections it has some of those ingredients I always want to see in a film: flawed but compelling characters, a troubled romance, a different world peopled by humans, not heroes.