Ride in the Whirlwind (1966)

Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), directed by Monte Hellman.

Three cowpokes headed for Texas make the mistake of camping next to a gang of stagecoach robbers. The next morning the posse has arrived and they won't be listening to explanations -- they have the ropes handy and a tree picked out.

Our three never wanted to be Bad Men but now they have no choice.

This was made back to back with The Shooting (1966). Roger Corman produced them and his philosophy was that you can save money by making two films while you've got everyone together for one. Same director and cinematographer, big overlap in cast and crew, including the horses.

Written by Jack Nicholson, who also stars and co-produced. The budget was $75k and the largest expense was for the horses and their wranglers. The Teamsters were the only union in the production.

The authentic, minimalist production values reminds of the Budd Boetticher westerns of the 1950s: Ride Lonesome (1959), Seven Men from Now (1956) and The Tall T (1957) are my favorites. His budget strategy: no money for interior sets? Don't use them. Film it all outdoors. Same here.

I always love to see Harry Dean Stanton. Cameron Mitchell always looks at home in westerns. Last seen in Garden of Evil (1954). Millie Perkins will have a bigger role in the next film; her debut was the title role in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959).

Photographed by Gregory Sandor -- The Shooting (1966), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Sisters (1972).

Only 82m long.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion, with the companion film The Shooting (1966) on the same disc. Both films have a commentary track by the director, Bill Krohn and Blake Lucas.