19 June 2006 | Aglaope
Based on the True Mystery of the Mad Trapper
This is an excellent true story, one of the gems of mountain man folklore, set in 1930's Northern Canada. The story of Canada's most famous northern manhunt, the Mad Trapper of Rat River and his running gun battle with the R.C.M.P. in the winter of 1931-32.
The Mad Trapper was thought to be named Albert Johnson, complaints were received about Johnson tampering with people's traps. When the Mounties were sent to investigate one was shot and wounded in an exchange of fire. They withdrew for help and later returned to the isolated cabin with a nine man posse and 20 pounds of dynamite. Meanwhile Johnston had reinforced the cabin and dug a pit under the floor. When the Mounties threw the dynamite at the cabin it blew the cabin apart, but when they went in expecting to find a dead or wounded Johnston he fought them off.
The Mounties withdrew again, and later when they returned to the cabin they found it abandoned. After a long search of the area, they ran into Johnston again, but one of the Mounties was shot dead in the exchange and Johnston managed to slip away.
The Mounties could not catch Johnston so they called in aerial surveillance. The plane picked up Johnstons trail and directed the Mounties to his location. The outcome of the ensuing gunfight was left a mystery, did he get away. Nobody knows.
This Mike Mazurki version is a rather sterile version, of the story. Made in a style akin to an early Walt Disney movie.
It's still a passable enough version of the mystery of the "Mad Trapper". Though maybe it dwells a bit much on the large animal cast.
It definitely invites a remake. It was called Death Hunt (1981).