The Deadly Companions is a 1961 Western. It was directed by Sam Peckinpah and starred Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran and Chill Wills. The film was Peckinpah's motion picture directorial debut. It is now in the public domain because of a missing copyright indication.
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, agrees to help take the body across the desert
to be buried.
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, who feuded with Fitzsimons (brother of the film's star Maureen O'Hara) over the screenplay and staging of the scenes. Reportedly, Fitzsimons refused to let him give directions to O'Hara. 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.