From The Spaghetti Western Database


‘’’BLOOD FOR A SILVER DOLLAR Reviewed by Michael Hauss’’’

Even though this film was released before Adios Gringo (the other film on this disc) in 1965, it has more of an Italian Western feel and tone, than that later film.Giuliano Gemma besides an opening bearded appearance, is still the clean-cut hero of the film, but the plot has more of a brutal, malicious feel to it, led by the Land Baron, who is an evil, corrupt, sadistic, criminal, whose hiding behind the privilege his wealth gives him.


Gary O’Hara (Giuliano Gemma) and his brother Phillip (Nazzareno Zamperia), after the end of the civil war, are given “honor of arms,” from the union army, but the pistols they receive have their barrels sawed off (the sawed off pistol comes into play later in the fiilm). With a bleak economy to return to and a ravaged homestead, Phillip decides to head west and gives Gary a key for a strong box, that contains a monetary gift to Gary and his wife Judy (Evelyn Stewart). Upon returning home, Gary decides that Richmond Virginia holds no future for him and Judy and decides to meet up with Phillip in a designated town called Yellow Springs. He tells Judy to follow him out in three months, after she sells what she can to raise some capital. He leaves the cash from the strong box, and only takes a single silver dollar for his journey, tucking it into his breast pocket.

Gary makes it to within two miles of Yellow Springs, when he must put his injured horse down, and finish the long journey on foot. In the town, he is met with anger and open disdain by the townsfolk, who figure that he’s another Johnny Reb, and possibly part of an outlaw gang of ex-confederate soldiers, who have been robbing and pillaging the local area. When no work is forth coming, he goes to see the richest man in town McCory (Pierre Cressoy), looking for work, and after showing his athletic prowess and courage, he is offered $500 to take a man named Blackie in to the sheriff. Gary accepts the job, but, little does Gary know, that the whole thing is a set-up and Blackie, in reality is actually Phillip. When Gary addresses Phillip at the saloon, about him taking him in to the sheriff, Philip who has his back to Gary, spins around and shoots Gary, and McCory and his henchmen, who had been behind Gary, fill Phillip with lead, both Gary and Phillip realizing who the other was as they both fall to the ground next to one another, both declared dead and thrown on the back of the wagon of some homesteaders, who while preparing to bury Gary, notice that he is still alive, badly wounded, but the silver dollar in his breast pocket, had saved his life.


Gary returns to Yellow Springs after an unspecified amount of time and slowly puts the pieces together. First helping a land owner defending his property and being told that Blackie was a friend to the besieged land owners, and had found something out that would reveal the truth about McCory. Gary infiltrates the gang of faux confederates, who work for McCory, while putting the pieces together to reveal the truth behind Blackie’s death and the dirty dealings by McCory.


The cast is loaded with many fine Italian actors including; Nello Pazzafini, Evelyn Stewart, Pierre Cressoy, Franco Fantasia, Sal Borgese, Benito Stefanelli, Pedro Sanchez and many others, an early who’s who of Italian western character actors. Directed by the competent Giorgio Ferroni, from a script by Giorgio Stegani and Ferroni. The print used for the most part is perfect, the audio is hiss free and the soundtrack by Gianni Ferrio, is at times a bit routine, but when it ratchets it up a bit, it is amazing.

Both films presented here are beautiful examples and really showcases the great Giuliano Gemma. Both are Anamorphic Widescreen presentations, extras include; trailers, picture galleries and a moving tribute to Gemma’s westerns. Another stellar release from the team over at Wild East Productions.

Thanks as always to the spaghetti western expert Tom Betts

Article written by Michael Hauss, author of reviews and articles for Monster magazine, We Belong Dead, Multitude of Movies, Divine Exploitation, Exploitation Retrospect, Weng's Chop and various blogs that include Multitude of Movies, Theater of Guts and the SWDb. He has a love of film with particular interest in the Spaghetti Western and Horror genres. Michael lives in the United States where he resides with his daughter and their two cats Rotten Ralph and Fatty boo-boo.