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Hawken's Breed (1988)

Hawken is a rugged drifter and loner who meets and comes to rescue a young Shawnee woman, named "Spirit" in 1840s Tennessee, whom he leaves after saving her from a rouge group of Shawnee ... See full summary »


Charles B. Pierce


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Fonda ... Hawken
Jack Elam ... Tackett
Serene Hedin ... Spirit
Chuck Pierce Jr. Chuck Pierce Jr. ... Noel Hickman
Sue Ane Langdon ... Holly Clawson
Dennis Fimple ... Crowley
Royce Clark Royce Clark ... Luke
Bill Thurman ... Jeb Kline
Seamon Glass Seamon Glass ... Pa Hickman
Joe Kurtzo Joe Kurtzo ... Aaron Hickman
Ivan Green Ivan Green ... Frank Hickman
Bear Pierce Bear Pierce ... Tackett's Gang
Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis ... Tackett's Gang
Don Lewis Don Lewis ... Tackett's Gang
Robert Lewis ... Tackett's Gang


Hawken is a rugged drifter and loner who meets and comes to rescue a young Shawnee woman, named "Spirit" in 1840s Tennessee, whom he leaves after saving her from a rouge group of Shawnee Indians. After taking up residence with an old fur trapper and old friend named Jeb Kline, Hawken later meets Spirit again, who runs away from a local fur trader named Tackett, to whom she is sold. Soon, Hawken is up against Tackett and a posse of hired killers, as well as a greedy and racist land owner, named Hickman, whose long abused son Noel narrates the entire story, comes to his and Spirit's aid to help them survive. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He took another man's woman. He killed another man's brother. Now he faces another kind of justice. See more »


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Rache des Trappers See more »

Filming Locations:

Dover, Tennessee, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MLG See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Noel Hickman: [voice-over] I don't know who started all this talk about good always being mixed up with bad, and bad with good. All I know is, when people are alone, when there's no law to see to it that they got to stand inside the bounds; then they're either all good or all bad. And it's a tough thing for a boy to find out that his pa is one of the bad.
See more »


Where the River Runs Free
Music by Guido De Angelis and Maurizo De Angelis
Performed by Matt DiNapoli
See more »

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User Reviews

Not great, but an interesting indie western
5 November 2015 | by FrankiePaddoSee all my reviews

Hawken's Breed is much maligned. Those who say it is the worst film ever made clearly haven't seen many films.

This is an independent film made with a former major maverick film star (Peter Fonda), former major supporting player (Jack Elam), and former starlet (Sue Ann Langdon) supported by some solid character actors (Bill Thurman). I suspect all were working cheap or cheaper than they had in their prime.

And "cheap" is the operative word. Things are filmed on a small(er) budget. That does not diminish the film but you have to accept that what you are going to watch has that limitation. There are many films made on similar limitations that transcend them and outdo much bigger budget films but this isn't one of them. There is, however, enough here to keep one interested and enough to admire when it comes to film making on a shoe string.

At its heart this is a revenge themed frontier western. The story is simple and what is perhaps most obvious is the isolation of people in frontier times. A step the wrong way off a track or meeting up with strangers who are no good could end your life. The elements, the wild life, the Native Americans, other frontiersmen, all could leave you dead or dying in the middle of nowhere.

The director Charles Pierce (The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)) loved the frontier pre-wild west and post Civil war west and this film as well as Chasing the Wind (1998), The Winds of Autumn(1976), Winterhawk (1975), Sacred Ground (1983) and Grayeagle (1977) are all westerns that deal with individuals or couples against the elements or external forces, looking for a better life or seeking revenge against those who have taken that away from them. He has a rough consistency of themes, at least in his westerns.

Maybe because of budgetary constraints maybe because of temperament the action is short and sharp and a lot of scenes seem to be almost like "mood pieces". And, whether it is intentional or not, they work as a reminder that the old west wasn't all excitement and daring do.

On the negative there are some clumsy camera angles that don't show off the actors to their best, a couple of peripheral background actors that don't look authentic, and a out of place music score, which would have worked in an ironic comic 70s western but not here.

Also, through no fault of the filmmakers the video transfer is only average which is a pity as there are some great Tennessee landscapes The principal leads are all fine and Fonda's character especially fits in with his screen persona.

It may miss the mark but it is not the worst by a country mile.


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