I am ashamed to admit that this film vanished from my collective memory for 40 years!
This is an absolutely wonderful slice of filmmaking and I cannot recommend it enough!!
I actually ran this at the movie theater I worked at in Gardiner, Montana in the summer of 1977, July 15th to be exact. It was under the title "Wishbone Cutter".
Joe Don Baker is Wishbone Cutter a confederate soldier who, along with his best friend Half Moon O' Brien (Joy Houck, Jr.)learn from a wounded and dying friend during the last battle of the civil war that he has a huge cashe of mysterious but valuable stones hidden in a secret place in a mysterious mountain range.
Cutter returns from the war to find his wife married to a former enemy who was a general in the Northern Army. Filled with hate he and Half Moon set out to find the stones along with a friend named Amos Richmond (Ted Neeley). Half Moon is an expert Indian guide and can track anything alive, but on this journey he tells Cutter he has some unexplained bad feelings about things.
Early on someone or something shoots several arrows at them, barely missing them. Half Moon says whatever it is never leaves tracks or clues. He speaks of an ancient legend of a spirit named Chikara, but Cutter and Neeley ignore it. They stumble upon a wagon and it's dead owners as well as a young woman who is in a state of shock.
Her name is Drusilla Wilcox (Sondra Locke) and she tells them that the people she was with were killed by unknown assailants that she did not see. As they get closer to their destination the attacks get more violent and frequent.
Still Half Moon can find no clue as to who they are, or what they are. I don't want to give too much away about the very nifty twist ending, but I can tell you it ends very badly for all involved.
This regional film was made in Arkansas and also features Slim Pickens as Virgil Kane, the man who gives Cutter the info on his valuable stones, which may indeed be diamonds.
The print from Sinister isn't too bad, and even thought it should be in widescreen and isn't makes no difference. This is a film to see and one that really sucks you into the amazing story. As I said, i had forgotten all about this film, and that doesn't happen too often. Why it did this time I have no idea, but thanks to Sinister Cinema the film is right back in my brain where it should be.
A great western horror hybrid that really has to be seen to be appreciated. There are several very shocking scenes, especially dealing with horses that are not soon forgotten. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from Sinister!!!