With all the ingredients of a spaghetti western, this Giulio Petroni-helmed feature always stands a chance with those who simply like to see the basic boxes ticked. Ice-cold drifter out for revenge? Check. Plucky locals willing to stand up to local villain? Check. Haunting Ennio Morricone soundtrack with inspired outbreaks of wailing over Spanish guitar? Check.
Lee Van Cleef is the drifter Ryan, a pipe-smoking, steel-eyed assassin who relishes the chance to extort and exterminate the worst vermin in the West. Left behind in the genre when Clint rode onto other things, Van Cleef does well not to look bored, instead savouring his anti-hero role and portraying a proper bastard with ease. But even by spaghetti standards the dialogue is poor ("If he's who I think he is, get ready to get mad") and in these days of Deadwood, Death Rides A Horse seems quaint and redundant. A relic of another time, lost in the wilderness.