Cast & Crew
B. J. Merholz
Guy El Tsosie
Willet Gashade is on his way back to the mining camp he shares with his brother Coin and his friends Leland Drum and Coley Boyard when he senses that he is being followed. Upon reaching the camp, Will, weary from his trek, calls for Leland and Coley to help him unload the pack mule. Receiving no answer, Will becomes angry until he notices a freshly dug grave with a headstone bearing an inscription that Leland Drum was shot dead and was buried by his friend Coley Boyard. Will then finds Coley cowering in the mine shaft, raving nonsensically. Upon calming down, Coley tells Will that after Coin and Leland returned from town one night, Coin took Coley's horse, Shorty, and rode out of camp. Leland then told Coley that while he and Coin were in town, Coin rode into a man and another person, possibly a child, and gravely injured them. Fearful that the law could pursue him, Coin stole Shorty and rode off. Coley continues that when he awakened one morning and poked his head out of the tent, he saw Leland drinking coffee by the campfire when a shot rang out and killed him. The next morning, Will is scanning the horizon for his pursuer when he hears a blast of gunfire, sending Coley scurrying into the mine shaft for cover. Soon after, a woman walks toward the camp and petulantly asks to buy a horse, explaining that she had to shoot hers when the animal stumbled and broke a leg. After Will offers to sell her Leland's horse, the woman asks him to accompany her back to retrieve her saddle, then calls him by name and remarks that she heard he was a bounty hunter. Declaring that he is only a miner, Will turns down her request to escort her to the town of Kingsley. Upon examining her dead horse, Will observes that the animal has no broken bones and asks why she killed it, to which she smiles enigmatically and reiterates her offer. Later Will agrees to reconsider if the woman will also pay Coley to accompany them. Accepting his terms, the woman insists that they leave immediately and stop at the town of Cross Tree, even though it is out of their way. Soon after they depart, the sheriff and his deputy arrive at the camp looking for Leland, and seeing his gravestone, declare that their mission is over. Upon reaching the town of Cross Tree, Will gives Coley money to buy two fresh horses and supplies. Noticing an Indian approaching the woman, Will accosts the man and demands to know what his business is with her. The Indian responds that he delivered a paper to her that was given to him by a man with a beard. Proceeding to the stable, Will finds Coley talking to Shorty, who was left by Coin once the animal fell lame. Before leaving town, the good-natured Coley asks Will for $50 to pay the stable owner to spare Shorty's life. As they continue on the trail to Kingsley, they come upon a cold campfire with horse tracks leading away from it. Will begins to suspect that the woman is chasing someone, and his hunch is confirmed when the woman insists on following the tracks rather than the road to Kingsley. When the woman suddenly fires her gun into the air, Will, noticing that a man has been shadowing them, asks who she is signaling. After making camp for the night, Coley tells Will that he is "crazy for the woman" and Will warns him that the woman is planning to kill someone. Exhausted from the trip, the woman collapses, and when she asks for a cup of tea, Coley eagerly brews her some. Trying to manipulate Coley, the woman begins to flirt with him but soon becomes churlish when Coley idly fires off his gun. Realizing that she is upset because Coley, by shooting his gun, has sent a signal to the man trailing them, Will demands to know who is out there. His question is met by the sound of the cocking of a trigger, after which the woman calls out the name Billy Spear. Billy, wearing a natty leather vest and a menacing smile, rides into camp and dismounts. Observing that Billy resembles the woman, Will warns Coley that Billy is a hired gun, but the woman snaps that Billy will be riding on with them. The next day, as they continue following the tracks, Will notices that someone has joined their quarry. The woman then takes the lead, but when her horse goes lame, Billy orders Coley to give her his horse and declares that he will blow Coley's face off if he disobeys. When Billy demands that they leave Coley behind in the desert, Will refuses until Billy draws his gun and disarms Will and Coley, tossing their guns into the distance. Will promises Coley that he will come back for him, and as Billy rides off he smugly informs Coley that he killed Leland. In the distance, Billy, Will and the woman spot a bearded man hunched against the side of a dune. The woman rides out to talk to the bearded man, and upon returning, announces that the man has a broken leg and she intends to leave him behind. While trudging beneath the merciless desert sun, Coley reclaims one of the discarded guns, then comes upon the bearded man and offers him some candy and a small puzzle game, promising that he will come back to help him. Finding the man's horse wandering in the distance, Coley mounts the animal and races to find Will. When Billy sees Coley following them, he charges toward him, and when Coley aims his gun at Billy, Billy shoots him down. As they continue their trek through the desert, their water becomes depleted and their horses begin dying. When Billy collapses from sunstroke, Will attacks him and after throwing away Billy's gun, crushes Billy's gun hand with a rock. Staggering to his feet, Billy stumbles on while up ahead, in the rocks, the woman spots her prey and scrambles after him. After the woman shoots at the man, he shoots back and in exchange of gunfire, they kill each other. When Will sees the face of the dead man, he realizes it is his twin brother Coin.
B. J. Merholz
Guy El Tsosie
Jack H. Harris
The Shooting (1966)
The Shooting (1966)
The Epitaph was the unfilmed script that Nicholson wrote with Monte Hellman. Reputedly based partly on Nicholson's relationship with his wife Sandra Knight, the script dealt with theme of abortion, which Roger Corman felt was a no-no at that time.
The working title of the film was Gashade. Although there is a 1966 copyright statement on the film for Santa Clara Productions, the film was not registered for copyright at the time of its release. However, the film was registered for copyright by Santa Clara Productions on February 4, 1982 and assigned the number PA-131-810. The opening of the film, in which "Coley" describes "Coin's" flight and "Leland's" death, is told in flashbacks, but because they take place at night or from the viewpoint of Coley's tent, the screen is dark, rendering the action almost indecipherable.
According to the Hollywood Reporter review, the idea for The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind, was germinated when Jack Nicholson and Monte Hellman sought funds from Roger Corman to produce a screenplay they had written. Corman, who thought the project was too risky, suggested instead that Nicholson and Hellman film two westerns back-to-back. According to a May 16, 1971 New York Times article, in 1965, Hellman and Nicholson proceeded to film The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind over a seven-week period in Kanab, UT. Both films were funded by Corman, directed by Hellman, produced by Nicholson and Hellman, featured Nicholson and Millie Perkins were photographed by Gregory Sandor. Although he is not credited onscreen, Hellman, a member of the film editors' union, edited both films, according to the New York Times article.
The New York Times article noted that once the films were competed, Hellman and Nicholson took them to film festivals in the United States, France, Germany, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. Although no American distributor was interested, Hellman and Nicholson were successful in selling them to a European distributor. However, because the European distributor went bankrupt before he could retrieve the film cans from French customs, the films remained in customs for over a year and a half until Hellman and Nicholson were able to reclaim them and sell them to another distributor. In mid-1967, Corman sold the films to American distributor Walter Reade, Jr. in order to recoup his negative costs. According to a January 7, 1972 Daily Variety article, Reade, who thought the films too difficult to sell theatrically, sold them to television stations. In January 1969, WTTV television in Indianapolis, IN, acquired the films for broadcast. In 1971, Jack H. Harris Enterprises bought the distribution rights to The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, and according to a June 1971 Daily Variety news item, Favorite Films acquired the rights to distribute them in Western states.
Many of the reviewers commented that The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind were "existential Westerns" because they lacked character motivation and featured a meager story line. The New York Times article described the films as mixing "the myths of the western-the search, the chase, the stranger, the unfriendly mountains and too absolute sky-with something bleaker and more dangerous. They are sparse, austere, stripped of all unnecessary language, stripped and flayed until there is nothing left but white bones drying in the sun." The Hollywood Reporter reviews lauded the films' "magnificent style," and the LAHExam reviewer praised Hellman's films as "a trick of light." The Shooting marked the first collaboration between Hellman and actor Warren Oates, who went on to star in three other Hellman films. The Shooting, along with Ride in the Whirlwind, marked Nicholson's debut as a producer.
Released in United States 1967
Released in United States September 1996
Released in United States 2011
Roger Corman was an uncredited executive producer.
Released in United States 1967
Released in United States September 1996 (Shown in Los Angeles (American Cinematheque) as part of program "3-Card Monte: The Films of Monte Hellman" September 13-21, 1996.)
Released in United States September 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Corman's Children" September 7-28, 1996.)
Released in United States 2011 (Special Presentations)