After the American Civil War, the half-breed Keoma (Franco Nero) returns to his homeland and rescues a beautiful pregnant woman accused of having plague, Lisa (Olga Karlatos), from a gang leaded by the landlord Caldwell (Donald O’Brian). Later he meets his former slave servant and friend George (Woody Strode), now a drunk free man, and his father, William Shannon (William Berger), and he is informed that the town is under siege of Caldwell’s men, without supplies of medicine or food and justice, with the dweller dying of plague and starvation and sick people is being isolated in an old mine. Further, his three dangerous half-brothers have joined Caldwell’s force. Keoma decides to help Lisa and the dwellers to retrieve their freedom and dignity, and he finds how despicable the inhabitants are.
The unknown western “Keoma” was a great surprise for me. Although predictable, the story is great, disclosing the relationship of Keoma with his brothers and father through his recollections from his childhood, and does not have a happy commercial end. Franco Nero is amazing in the role of a lonely half-Indian with a great sense of justice and freedom, love and loyalty to his father and regret and resentment to his half-brothers. The direction and cinematography are excellent, with a fantastic choreography of the fights, set decoration and costumes: in the dusty, windy and dirty city, the men’s clothes (and themselves) are very dirty, and not like in most of Hollywood movies, where the cowboys wear very clean clothes. There is a particular scene that I believe is unique in the cinema, when Keoma promises four bullets for four hit men, and while bending his four fingers, we see each of his targets. The annoying soundtrack, although having the good intention of creating a narrative of the feelings of the characters, is the only negative aspect in this movie