The merciless hunter

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German title The merciless hunter
Original title The tracker
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1988
length 93 minutes
Director John Guillermin
script Kevin Jarre
production Lance Hool
music Sylvester Levay
camera George Tirl
cut J. Terry Williams

The merciless hunter (original title: The Tracker ) is an American western from 1988. Directed by John Guillermin , the screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre .


Noble Adams served as a scout in the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars. He quits the job and drives with his wife and two-year-old son to a farm that he has bought. His wife dies in an accident on the way. His son is getting a good education on the east coast and is studying law. After graduation, Tom returns to his father for a short time. One day, Noble is asked by his old friend Marshall Crawford to help track the gang led by John Stillwell who fled the Yuma penitentiary. The bandits murder some people and kidnap two women, a twelve year old girl and an Indian woman. Tom wants to join the chase. His father is against it because he believes that his son cannot stand the rigors of the persecution. But Tom prevails. Noble, his son, and the Marshall pursue the gang, who are awaiting a $ 500 reward. You will meet a group of bounty hunters who are deserted soldiers. During a sandstorm, the three of them seek cover behind rocks as best they can. Stillwell and his gang find refuge in a pueblo (Indian village built into a rock). Knowing that the bandits want to take the only ferry across the river, Noble takes a grueling shortcut. The bounty hunters get in their way at the ferry. Stillwell kills the Marshall in the shooting.

There are always conflicts between father and son. The father still lives in an atavistic world in which life is ruled by the rule of killing so that you do not get killed . The son has a human behavior shaped by the civilized east coast. Noble and Tom set another trap for the gang. Noble kills all gang members. Tom was waiting for Stillwell. He has his rifle aimed at him and hesitates for a moment. Stillwell takes the girl on horseback with him. Tom can no longer shoot. As agreed, Noble and Tom meet with the Indians, who bring them fresh horses and supplies. The older sister and father of the girl are also at this meeting point. Noble wants to free the girl alone and follows the trail. Tom suddenly knows where Stillwell is going to hide. It can only be the pueblo. He rides straight there. His father frees the girl and takes Stillwell prisoner. Stillwell uses a trick to distract him and shoots him in the stomach with a hidden derringer. Stillwell takes the girl on his horse and rides towards Utah. Tom arrives a short time later. His father tells him that he was fatally wounded. Tom promises to free the girl. He confronts Stillwell, who surrenders. When Stillwell tries to outsmart him with the same trick, Tom shoots him. When Tom comes back to his father, he dies shortly afterwards.

As the final picture you can see Tom loading his father's coffin onto a train. The two sisters are also on the platform. He promises the older sister, with whom he grew up in his youth, to visit her in a few months.


The television week wrote that the director of some "legendary works" had staged a "classic Western" that " focuses on a father-son relationship and the question of morality in the old west of 1882" . The film captivates "with the beauty of authentic locations, the conscious camera work and a well-kept, not too rapid pace" . Kristofferson plays "the fearless hero who goes to the last for law and order" , which role seems to be "tailored to his body" .


The film was shot in various locations in New Mexico , mostly in the Santa Fe area. Its production cost was estimated at about 4.8 million US dollars .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. TV Week, accessed on May 6, 2008
  2. ^ Filming locations for The Tracker, accessed May 6, 2008
  3. ^ Box office / business for The Tracker, accessed May 6, 2008