He rode wild country with wilder men. He was a loner who owned nothing but horse and saddle - and his guns. He was a man willing to gamble his life to get the woman he wanted...He was Shalako.
Shalako, named after the Zuni rain god, is a man who lives only as one can in the brutal New Mexico desert - hour by hour. When he comes upon a group of aristocrats not aware of the dangers of the land they are in, it falls on him to protect them from the great guerilla fighters of the Old West, the Apache! The high-class party is only there to hunt game, for they've been told that New Mexico is a great place for the sport. But the only thing that will be hunted is them. As the Apache's slowly take each one out, the group's only hope is that the U.S. Army will arrive to help in time. However, surviving is not easy when you have Tats-ah-das-ay-go, or 'The Quick Killer,' on your tail. However trying it may be, Shalako Carlin will risk everything to protect Irina Carnarvon. As the Army gets nearer, the number of survivors gets fewer. Finally, with the Army just below the mountain the group of hunters has climbed, a climactic battle between Shalako and Tats-ah-das-ay-go erupts. Finally, Shalako wins and the Army rescues the hunting party. Shalako eventually gets what he risked his life for, as he rides off with Irina Carnarvon's arms wrapped around him.
- Shalako Carlin: A man surviving day-to-day life in the New Mexico desert, dodging Apache's and drifting every day. With nothing to his name but his horse, saddle, and guns, he's worried about looking out for number one - himself.
- Irina Carnarvon: A beautiful, classy girl used to the best things in life such as champagne, down mattresses, and not being in danger of being killed by Apache's. As tenderfooted as she may be, she does possess common sense, something Shalako knows her kind of people don't normally have.
- General Baron Frederick von Hallstatt: An arrogant Prussian who is completely ignorant of the dangers he has brought upon the small hunting party he is leading. He fought in the Franco-Prussian war, and is a national hero of his country. The only problem is, he's not in his country, and the Apache's have no knowledge of what medal's represent.
- Tats-ah-das-ay-go (the Quick Killer): There is a reason that this Apache brave received his name. Rarely seen or heard, he fools many people into thinking ghosts are around. That is, until he slits their throats. With an enemy like this, Shalako has a lot on his plate.
- Buffalo Harris: A good friend of Shalako's. They served in the Army together, but had since then seperated. The two reunited unexpectedly when Buffalo turned out to be a part of the hunting group, leading them through and protecting them in Apache country.
- Bosky Fulton: A gunman hired to protect von Hallstatt and his group, but he only cares about money and his own hide. At one point, he took party's supplies and money and left them in the middle of the desert, just like the coward he is.
Shalako was made into a film in the 60's starring Sean Connery as Shalako Carlin, Brigitte Bardot as Irina Carnarvon (named Irina Lazaar in the film), and Peter van Eyck as Frederick von Hallstatt. This British-produced western directed by Edward Dmytryk was not received well, with many reviews calling it 'ho-hum' and 'fairly standard.'