Anthony Quinn added Eskimo to the many ethnic types he portrayed on film with this drama about a clash of cultures from director Nicholas Ray. Inuk (Quinn) is a typical Eskimo hunter, living proudly as his ancestors did, eking out an existence on the frozen Canadian tundra.
When Inuk takes his wife and mother-in-law to a trading post to exchange furs, the family meets a friendly priest (Marco Guglielmi). In time-honored Eskimo custom, Inuk offers the missionary his wife's sexual favors. Offended by the man's rejection, Inuk kills him.
Having broken Western law, Inuk is pursued by two Mounties (Peter O'Toole and Carlo Giustini). Slowed down by his wife's elderly mother, he sends the woman out on the ice to perish, another of his people's ancient traditions. The police capture Inuk, but the lawmen and their prisoner encounter severe weather.
The Savage Innocents (1959) was the feature debut of actor O'Toole, who objected to the overdubbing of his voice in the finished film.