The Train Robbers (1973)

The gold or the grave. The young widow could lead them to either.

A gunhand named Lane is hired by a widow, Mrs. Lowe, to find gold stolen by her husband so that she may return it and start fresh.

This is another old John Wayne classic that, despite being a bit of an oldie, is still so much fun to watch. Being made as late as 1973 it is one of the later works of John Wayne. I quite like these later works where he is often playing a grumpy old hero.
This movie is a good classical old western with a decent enough chunk of humor. It starts off fairly hilarious when Lane punches his friend for bringing a guy along who “could not take orders”. The continued muttering and bickering between Lane and his two old war-buddies is one of the things that makes this movie so fun to watch.
The story is a fairly simple one. A widow of a bank robber hires Lane and his friends to track down half a million in gold that said widow’s husband stole and hid. Naturally there are other parties searching for the gold. The entire movie centers around Lane & Co though with the other parties just being kind of “around” which is perhaps a bit unusual. Apart from a few close-ups of a Pinkerton agent played by Ricardo Montalban (who of course will always be Khan for us sci-fi fans) and who has no major part to play until the end, we never really see the bad guys in any detail. They are just a bunch of men on horses riding over the country side or shooting at our heroes.
As is often the case with American western movies the landscape and scenery is also a contributing factor to the enjoyment of the movie. The choice of the abandoned train wreck in the desert was an interesting, a bit unusual, and visually pleasing one. I have to say that the “town” where the train arrived with Lane and where the final fight took place was a wee bit disappointing though.It looked like three scattered houses and a water tower.
The ending was just as hilarious as the beginning. Actually more so. I just loved it when Lane rode after the train and in answer to his friends question explained that he was going to rob a train.
This was some very enjoyable 90 minutes indeed.

Batjac Productions by Burt Kennedy.
Stars: John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson.

Genres: Action, Comedy, Romance, Western

Keywords: gold widow hired gun

02/07/1973

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