‘Women’s Lib has got to Westerns’, screamed the publicity for the third and final encore for the iconic seven, having reinvented themselves for an eager public.
The law of diminishing returns – so true with most sequels – does not apply here as Chris (Lee van Cleef) returns, newly married and now the Marshal of an Arizona town. Settled and happy, he initially refuses to help an old friend rid his town of bandits. His mind is changed, however, when the bandits kidnap his wife Arilla (Mariette Hartley). He vows to rescue her and begins his quest amid danger and betrayal.
After finding her corpse, Chris swears vengeance and promises pardons to five prisoners (Pedro Armendariz Jr, William Lucking, Luke Askew, Ed Lauter and James B Sikking) if they will join him. They agree, and, alongside an opportunistic newsman (Michael Callan), the seven befriend the beleaguered women of the troubled town (led by Stefanie Powers) and form an elaborate plan to kill the bandits and return peace to the Wild West.
This incarnation of the Magnificent Seven would prove less of a career boost to its stars than before but the small screen would adopt a different septet for a brief but popular renaissance in the 1990s.
USA | 100 minutes | 1972
Director: George McCowan
Writer: Arthur Rowe
Mariette Hartley as Arilla Adams
Lee Van Cleef as Marshal Chris Adams
Stefanie Powers as Mrs. Laurie Gunn
Ralph Waite as Jim Mackay
Gary Busey as Hank Allan
James Sikking as Captain Andy Hayes
Ed Lauter as Scott Elliot
Michael Callan as Noah Forbes
Luke Askew as Mark Skinner
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. as Pepe Carral
Melissa Murphy as Madge Buchanan
William Lucking as Walt Drummond
Allyn Ann McLerie as Mrs. Donavan