The Deadly Companions (Trigger Happy) (1961) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Deadly Companions (Trigger Happy) (1961)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Sam Peckinpah's first feature as director is this modest Western, taking place in the late 1860s. Yellowleg (Brian Keith), a former sergeant in the Union army, is obsessed with tracking down Turk (Chill Wills), a Rebel army deserter who, during the War Between the States, tried to scalp him as he lay wounded on a battlefield. Yellowleg finds Turk and his sidekick Billy (Steve Cochran) in a cantina and convinces them to help him rob a bank. They journey to Gila City, where the bank is located, and find that another group of bank robbers are also in Gila City to rob the same bank. During a shoot-out with the other bank robbers, Yellowleg accidentally kills the nine-year-old son of dance-hall hostess Kit Tilden (Maureen O'Hara). Remorseful at having caused the death of Kit's son, Yellowleg forces Turk and Billy to accompany him through Apache territory to bury Kit's son at the gravesite of her husband in the ghost town of Siringo. When Billy attacks Kit, Yellowleg throws him out of their camp. Then Turk deserts. As Kit and Yellowleg finally reach Siringo, Yellowleg realizes that he is in love with her. But then, Billy and Turk reappear, having robbed the bank in Gila City, leading to a final confrontation between Yellowleg and Turk.

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Cast

Maureen O'Hara
as Kit Tilden
Brian Keith
as Yellowleg
Riley Hill
as Gambler
Hank Gobble
as Bartender
Chuck Hayward
as Card Sharp
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Critic Reviews for The Deadly Companions (Trigger Happy)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

The plot twists are hokey, but the atmosphere is bleak and tense, and the men's performances nuanced.

Full Review… | March 28, 2016
New Yorker
Top Critic

As the deadlier of the refugee criminals, Steve Cochran is almost as mean as his colleague, Chill Wills, is picturesque. Their resourceful efforts would be more effective if the drama, as directed by Sam Peckinpah, did not move at the pace of a hearse.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Rapidly proliferating ideas in a condensed style

Full Review… | September 6, 2009
CinePassion

An interesting start for one of modern American cinema's most brilliant and controversial directors.

Full Review… | August 30, 2006
TV Guide

This film is visually powerful in spots, as it overcomes its routine theme with burning images of lust, greed, and hatred.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Deadly Companions (Trigger Happy)

½

110913: This could've been a good film if it wasn't so disjointed. Some great actors portraying neat characters, decent picture quality but poor sound, cool costuming - I especially liked Turk's dress and character. The story kind of made no sense but it was very spaghetti western like. Cool a little bit.

John Redshaw
John Redshaw
½

Extremely underwhelming. The trouble is that there is just too many things here we know about or have seen before. Reminded me a lot of The African Queen, Two Mules for Sister Sara and True Grit...not to mention the fact that Brian Keith is almost a caracature of John Wayne in this. Deadly slow in pace without much to keep you interested, it's difficult to believe Peckinpah made this - but then again, this was his debut as a director so I can't discredit it completely.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

A couple of good moments, but everything good gets better in Ride the High Country

Adam Mahler
Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

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