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.
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.
Army scout Hondo Lane (played by John Wayne) stumbles across an isolated homestead in the middle of Apache territory. The inhabitants - a woman and her son - believe they are safe, as there is a treaty with the Apaches. Lane knows better though, as the Army has just broken the treaty, causing the Apache to seek revenge on settlers. Despite being a scout for the US Army, Lane has sympathies for the Apaches, having been married to a native American woman and living with her people for five years. With divided loyalties he now has to tread a fine line. Written by
Geraldine Page makes her screen debut in Hondo and she is marvelous.
Someone in an earlier comment said that John Wayne is, "always bad." I take great umbrage in that statement. He was always good and often marvelous and sometimes Magnificent.
His Hondo is a very different character from Ethan Edwards or Thomas Dunson. Here, he is a younger Wil Anderson or a more somber Quirt Evans.
I like Hondo. It's not a great film like Red River or The Searchers, but it does explore the lonely existence of a woman living in the back of beyond. It also explores the way in which a semi-tamed man becomes a father substitute and good husband, something Ethan Edwards would never become.
Geraldine Page shines like a new penny in this, her first film. She won an Academy Award nomination for her role in Hondo, and she deserved it.
Hondo is a man who is hardened by experience but still capable of understanding, compassion and love. He also works HARD. It's fun to see John Wayne with nails in his mouth, shoeing a horse!
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