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Film / Day of the Wolves

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Day of the Wolves is a 1971 heist movie starring Richard Egan and directed, written and produced by Ferde Grofe Jr.

Richard Egan stars as Pete Anderson, the chief of police of the small western town called Wellerton. Anderson has a run-in with the son of a council official, who gets him fired. His warnings that the town is vulnerable to a criminal takeover were also considered scaremongering.

At the same time as this is happening, a group of thieves are being anonymously summoned to a ghost town in the desert by a criminal mastermind. Each of the thieves is promised a minimum of $50,000 for their participation in a heist, and arrives wearing a beard to disguise their appearance. The thieves are assigned a number (number #1 being the mastermind), and asked to wear gloves for the duration of the exploit, so as not to provide evidence that could lead back to them. They are shown a map of the town of Wellerton and told that they will fleece it. The criminals use the ghost town to train for the heist.


The "wolves" fly to the outskirts of Wellerton, and overcome a farmer and his wife. They then proceed to blow up the bridge that provides access to the town of Wellerton, and cut phone and power to the town. They surprise the new Sheriff and his deputies, and lock them in the town jail.

Pete's wife Maggie tips off Pete that the town is being invaded by criminals and he drives into town and starts a running gun fight with the wolves.


Day of the Wolves contains examples of:

  • Bank Robbery:
    • In his first scene, #6 walks into a bank disguised as a mailman, snatches a sack of money, and then races out.
    • The wolves plan to rob two banks by racing in with machine guns and scaring everyone, but only have time to rob one.
  • Beard Of Disguise: Each of the Wolves is instructed to grow a beard before arriving to train for The Heist, and then to shave it off after they have split up, so that none of their fellow thieves knows what they look like without the beard.
  • Cut Phone Lines: The Wolves cut the phone and power lines at the same time they blow the bridge, completely isolating the town of Wellerton.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard in a small town... almost 20 years before Die Hard.
  • The Heist
  • Ignored Expert: Pete Anderson tries to warn the town council that Wellerton is vulnerable to a criminal takeover. They fire him.
  • New Old West: It would not take much of a rewrite to set this movie in 1871 instead of 1971.
  • One Extra Member: The "Wolves" call themselves Numbers 1-7, but there's an eighth robber (the man who picks the others up from the airport and flies the getaway plane) who isn't assigned a number, and never interacts with any of the others except #1.
  • The Sheriff: Pete Anderson
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Chief Pete Anderson stages a "Die Hard" on an X against the gang that is Taking Over the Town armed only with a double-barreled shotgun. By the end of it, Pete is still standing, several Wolves are dead or in custody, and the rest have been run off.
  • Spanner in the Works: #1's plan for Taking Over the Town was masterfully planned and executed. The one thing he could not have forseen was that Chief of Police Pete Anderson would have been fired the day before the plan was executed, and therefore was at home instead of at the police station with the other officers.
  • Taking Over the Town: A textbook example.
  • Turn in Your Badge
  • Villainous Friendship: #4, #6, and #7 develop a nice rapport before the robbery.
  • You Are Number 6: The Wolves know each other as a number rather than a name, so that if one is captured he cannot identify the rest.