The Deadly Companions is a 1961 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, and Chill Wills. Based on the novel of the same name by A. S. Fleischman, the film is about an ex-army officer who accidentally kills a woman's son, and tries to make up for it by escorting the funeral procession through dangerous Indian territory. The Deadly Companions was Sam Peckinpah's motion picture directorial debut.
After her young son is killed in a bank robbery, Kit Tilden (Maureen O'Hara) is determined to bury him beside his father in Siringo, now deserted and located in Apache territory. Yellowleg (Brian Keith), the ex-army officer who accidentally killed her son, decides to help take the body across the desert to be buried, whether Kit wants help or not.
- Maureen O'Hara as Kit Tilden
- Brian Keith as Yellowleg
- Steve Cochran as Billy Keplinger
- Chill Wills as Turk
- Strother Martin as Parson
- Will Wright as Doctor Acton
- James O'Hara as Cal, General Store
- Peter O'Crotty as Mayor of Hila City
- Billy Vaughan as Mead Tildon Jr.
- Hank Gobble as Bartender (uncredited)
- Big John Hamilton as Gambler (uncredited)
- Chuck Hayward as Card Sharp (uncredited)
- Riley Hill as Gambler (uncredited)
- Buck Sharpe as Apache Indian (uncredited)
- Robert Sheldon as Gambler (uncredited)
- Directorial debut
After the cancellation of his 1959-1960 television series The Westerner, Brian Keith was cast as the male lead in The Deadly Companions. He suggested Sam Peckinpah (the producer and director of The Westerner) as the director for this film, and producer Charles B. Fitzsimons accepted the idea. By most accounts, the low-budget film shot on location in Arizona was a learning process for Peckinpah. Unable to rewrite the screenplay or edit the picture, Peckinpah vowed to never again direct a film unless he had script control. The Deadly Companions passed largely without notice and is the least known of Peckinpah's films.
- Filming locations