After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Taw Jackson returns from prison having survived being shot, to the ranch and gold that Frank Pierce stole from him. Jackson makes a deal with Lomax, the man who shot him 5 years ago to join forces against Pierce and steal a large gold shipment. The shipments are transported in the War Wagon, an armored stage coach that is heavily guarded. The two of them become the key players in the caper to separate Pierce from Jackson's gold.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
'The War Wagon' will never be considered one of John Wayne's great Westerns like 'Rio Bravo', 'The Searchers', or 'Red River', but it is a an enjoyable Western with fine performances and great rapport between Kirk Douglas and John Wayne. The action sequences are well done, the humor dry as the desert it takes place in, and the caper story line rather refreshing for a John Wayne film.
The problem? When the picture ends it leaves you feeling empty. The characters are not particularly interesting (save for Douglas) and the villain is your standard cattle baron murderous jerk. The war wagon itself is an interesting prop and well used, but never really becomes the menacing character it should've been. I enjoyed the movie as a fan of John Wayne and Westerns in general, yet I doubt most of his fans will find this film particularly impressive when compared to many of his other Westerns directed by Hawks and Ford. That isn't to say you should avoid seeing 'The War Wagon', but you should temper your expectations for what is really just an empty Saturday-afternoon adventure. You'll like it while you're watching it and then forget it as soon as the credits roll.
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