Thought this one was top notch, with the only thing keeping it from a “5” rating is John Phillip Law. The opening scenes where his father is killed and his mom and sister raped and murdered was not easy to watch (particularly knowing that home invasions like that actually happen) and the scene after Ryan rescues Bill where the little boy is sitting under the wagon, in shock and near tears, as his home burns was heartbreaking. The running gunfight in the dust storm was taut and made it believable that two men could take out so many armed bad guys. The final scene where Ryan shows Bill that he didn’t load his pistol and was willing to die rather than kill his young friend was great.
Despite not being the best actor in the world, Law does a decent job - he’s just over shadowed by several really good performers, particularly Lee Van Cleef who really owns this movie. Van Cleef’s Ryan is calculating, cunning, deadly but shows a level of humanity that a lot of characters in SWs don’t show - there’s more to him than simple greed or vengeance.
Part of me hopes that some of the men from the village got away at the end - I thought their failure to keep the bad guys from over running the village again made for an interesting contrast with ending of The Magnificent Seven.