|Directed by||Henry Hathaway|
|Produced by||Henry Hathaway
Joseph E. Levine (executive producer)
|Written by||John Michael Hayes|
|Based on||The Carpetbaggers
by Harold Robbins
|Music by||Alfred Newman|
|Edited by||Frank Bracht|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$6.5 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Nevada Smith is a 1966 American Western film in Eastmancolor and Panavision directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Steve McQueen. The film was made by Embassy Pictures and Solar Productions, in association with and released by Paramount Pictures. The movie was a prequel to the novel by Harold Robbins, The Carpetbaggers, which had been made into a highly successful film two years earlier, with Alan Ladd playing McQueen's part as an older man. The supporting cast of Nevada Smith comprises Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau, Arthur Kennedy, Suzanne Pleshette, Pat Hingle and Paul Fix.
In the West of the 1890s, a trio of outlaws, Bill Bowdre (Arthur Kennedy), Jesse Coe (Martin Landau) and Tom Fitch (Karl Malden), robs, tortures and brutally kills the white father and Indian mother of young Max Sand (Steve McQueen). Max sets out to avenge their deaths. Fitch keeps a tobacco pouch made from the breast of Max's mother, that contains a piece of beaded deerskin from her shirt. Max uses this clue to help him find the men.
Max cannot read or write and is not skilled with a gun. He fails to rob Jonas Cord, Sr. (Brian Keith), a traveling gunsmith. Cord recognizes that Max's revolver is not loaded and is too old and rusty to be useful. Cord takes pity on Max, feeds him and teaches him how to shoot. Max hunts the killers, who have separated. With the help of saloon girl Neesa (Janet Margolin), a woman from the same tribe as his mother, he tracks down Jesse Coe in an Abilene, Texas saloon and kills him in a knife fight. Max is wounded, and Neesa takes him to her tribe's camp, where she cares for his wounds and becomes his lover.
After recovering, Max leaves Neesa to continue his pursuit. He commits a robbery and deliberately gets caught so that he will be sent to the prison where Bowdre is serving time. Pilar (Suzanne Pleshette), a Cajun girl working in the rice fields near the convicts’ camp, gives Max comfort and finds a boat to help him escape through the swamps. Max lets Bowdre join them and murders Bowdre along the way. The boat capsizes and Pilar dies from a snake bite.
Still blinded by revenge, Max pursues Fitch, the last of the murderers. He infiltrates Fitch's gang, calling himself "Nevada Smith". Fitch is aware that Max Sand is out there somewhere, waiting to ambush him. Though he accepts Sand into the gang, Fitch is wary of him. When the gang sets out to commit a robbery, Sand is spotted by Cord. Cord calls him by name but Sand ignores him and the gang rides on.
During the robbery, Fitch suspects that one of his men is Sand. He warns them that he will kill any man who makes a mistake. The rest of the gang greedily scoops up the gold but Sand stands on a hill and watches them. Fitch realizes that "Smith" is Sand, drops his share of the gold and flees. Sand pursues him and corners Fitch at a creek. The men exchange fire and Fitch surrenders but Sand continues to fire non-fatal shots into Fitch. The outlaw begs to be killed but Max decides that Fitch is not worth killing and rides away.
- Steve McQueen as Max Sand (a.k.a. Nevada Smith)
- Karl Malden as Tom Fitch
- Brian Keith as Jonas Cord
- Martin Landau as Jesse Coe
- Arthur Kennedy as Bill Bowdre
- Suzanne Pleshette as Pilar
- Raf Vallone as Father Zaccardi
- Janet Margolin as Neesa
- Pat Hingle as Big Foot (work camp trustee)
- Howard Da Silva as Warden of work camp
- Paul Fix as Sheriff Bonnell
- Iron Eyes Cody as Taka-Ta (uncredited)
- Josephine Hutchinson
- Loni Anderson Brunette Saloon Girl (uncredited)
The movie was produced and directed by Henry Hathaway with Joseph E. Levine as executive producer, from a story and screenplay by John Michael Hayes, based on a character from Harold Robbins' 1961 novel The Carpetbaggers. The music score was by Alfred Newman and the cinematography by Lucien Ballard. The film is a prequel to The Carpetbaggers (1964), in which Alan Ladd played a much older Nevada Smith.
Nevada Smith was shot by Lucien Ballard on approximately 46 different locations in the Inyo National Forest (in parts of southern California and south-western Nevada) and the Owens Valley (of southern California) in the Eastern Sierra mountains.
In the scene in the cattle pens when Max (Steve McQueen) fights Jessie Coe (Martin Landau), Max crouches behind a fence and opens the gate to let the cattle out. Some cattle come out the gate while others knock down the fence and Max must dodge the flailing legs and hooves of the stampeding cattle. The knocking down of the fence was accidental and Steve McQueen was very nearly trampled for real.
- "Big Rental Pictures of 1966". Variety. 4 January 1967. p. 8.
- Nevada Smith at the Internet Movie Database
- Nevada Smith at AllMovie
- Nevada Smith at the TCM Movie Database
- Nevada Smith at the American Film Institute Catalog