Cast & Crew
In 15th-century Japan, a gang of 11 bandits roam the countryside, robbing the mansions of the rich and killing those who stand in their way. They decide to stop in a nearby village to rest but discover that it is desolate and that the remaining inhabitants are starving. The bandits steal food from another village and return to feed the starving villagers. They take up headquarters in a Buddhist temple, and a priest, recognizing a banner which is part of their loot, hails them as samurai of a powerful clan. Taro, the one-eyed leader of the bandits, takes advantage of the mistake, hoping to use the masquerade for monetary advantage. Gen, a farmer's son, is moved by the villagers' poverty, however, and presents them with the gang's stolen money. Some of the bandits acclaim his kindness, but others condemn it, and dissension develops in the ranks. Later, learning that 25 of the village men are being kept as slaves to assist in the construction of a castle for a provincial lord, the bandits attack and defeat the lord's men, freeing the villagers. But the army of another feudal warlord, fearing the bandits' growing strength, attacks and slays them.
Released in Japan in 1961 as Yato kaze no naka o hashiru; running time: 111 min.