The Ramrodder (1969) is a "nudie western" exploitation film written and directed by Van Guylder (Ed Forsythe). It stars Jim Gentry, Kathy Williams, Julia Blackburn, Bobby Beausoleil, Marsha Jordan, and Kathy Share.
This film is notable — and notorious — for a variety of reasons, including an intense and erotic whipping scene of a busty Indian maiden. The film's production is shrouded in mystery. The theater trailer (included on the DVD release by Something Weird Video) claims that a major Hollywood studio produced the film but did not want its name in the credits. (The opening titles list only "E.S.I. Productions"). Although the acting is uniformly amateurish, the quality of the direction, cinematography, editing, music, and other details suggest that this claim may be true. Another oddity is that the producer, David F. Friedman, is also missing from the credits. (Friedman produced dozens of low-budget exploitation films in the '60s and '70s and had a penchant for whipping scenes.)
One of the Indian braves is played by convicted murderer Bobby Beausoleil, a close friend of Charles Manson. The Indian girl who is raped and killed in the film is played by Kathy Share, former member of Manson's "family" of followers. Beausoleil had a relationship with Share and introduced her to Manson shortly after making this film.
Lusty cowboy Rick (Jim Gentry) has a fling with beautiful Indian maiden Tuwana (Kathy Williams). Later, he is falsely accused of raping and killing another Indian girl (Share). Tuwana has to step forth and prove she lost her virginity to Rick to clear his name.
The movie features many scenes of R-rated sex plus nude dancing, bodypainting, skinny-dipping, abduction, lesbianism and a topless cat-fight with knives.
The chief's son punishes Tuwana for her disobedience and breaking tribal law. She is stripped naked and bound beneath a tree limb with a rope tied around her wrists. In a long, artfully filmed sequence, he gives her over two-dozen severe lashes with a bullwhip, covering her back and ass with red stripes. The impact of many of the strokes are shown in closeup. The overall effect is more erotic than sadistic. Afterwards she swoons in his arms and suggestively drops to her knees. (See Links section below for video clip.)
Later she reveals that the whipping aroused in her an unexpected sexual desire.
In August 1969, Beausoleil was arrested for killing a man over a drug deal dispute. A few days later, Charles Manson had his followers commit a series of "copycat" crimes, the infamous Tate/LaBianca murders, in order to make it look like Beausoleil was innocent.
In 1968 Kathy Williams made two other exploitation films for David F. Friedman with corporal punishment segments. Love Camp 7 features an erotic belt spanking and The Lustful Turk has a harsh whipping. Williams and Jim Gentry also made Invitation to Ruin (1968), a white slavery story with sadistic whipping and torture.
Director Ed Forsythe used the Van Guylder alias for three more films. The Bang Bang Gang (1970) has a violent belt lashing scene. (Parts of this were used as flashback segments in the 1976 porno film The Velvet Edge.) He also directed Hollywood Babylon (1972) which has an intense whipping scene. And Uschi Digard gets a brief whipping in Superchick (1973).