William Faulkner made macabre comedy from the situation of a wagon transporting a coffin across miles of arduous terrain. "The Deadly Companions" … covers the same ground as "As I Lay Dying" and manages to make the plot look almost routine….
The burden of this [film's] tasteless plot is partly relieved by scenic color photography and a capable cast….
Their resourceful efforts would be more effective if the drama, as directed by Sam Peckinpah, did not move at the pace of a hearse.
Eugene Archer, "The Screen: 'Deadly Companions'," in The New York Times (© 1962 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), April 12, 1962, p. 41.