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The Train Robbers (1973)

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.

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Storyline

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.

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


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PG | See all certifications »
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7 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dreckiges Gold  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Third John Wayne movie to feature Christopher George, after El Dorado (1967) and Chisum (1970). See more »

Goofs

During the era depicted, the price of gold in US dollars was fixed at $20.67 per troy ounce. $500,000 worth of gold would therefore weigh about 750 kg or 1,660 pounds avoirdupois - far too much for one man to shift or for one mule to carry, as depicted in different scenes. See more »

Quotes

Calhoun: Someone said this gold was already dug.
Lane: Keep digging.
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Connections

Edited into Ann-Margret: Från Valsjöbyn till Hollywood (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wayne & Ann-Margret: Long chase in the Mexican desert for $500,000 million in gold
25 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

Released in 1973 and written & directed by Burt Kennedy, "The Train Robbers" stars John Wayne as Lane, a former Civil War officer who enlists a couple of his old subordinates (Ben Johnson & Rod Taylor) and a few younger gunfighters (e.g. Christopher George & Bobby Vinton) to help a widow (Ann-Margret) obtain a hidden cache of gold to honor her family's name. They travel 200 miles from West Texas into the Mexican desert while being chased by a gang who also wants the money, not to mention a mysterious man who has his own agenda (Ricardo Montalban).

While I relish this Western, it does have its flaws. The story is wholly contrived and contains a couple questionable dialogues, not to mention the "yeah, right" activities of the Montalban character. But I've seen way worse Westerns; the overrated "The Searchers" (1956) comes to mind.

If you like authentic breathtaking Southwestern vistas, notable Western music (reminiscent of "How the West was Won"), a tried-and-true cast (including cutie Ann-Margret) and desert adventure marked by a long chase with numerous camping-out scenes (almost a survival movie), not to mention an exceptional centerpiece set, featuring a dilapidated abandoned train in the desert, and a quality surprise ending, you can't go wrong with "The Train Robbers." The magnificent Western cinematography is particularly notable: Myriad frames from practically every sequence could be used as awesome Western art. Then there's the fact that this is essentially a Western "road movie," albeit without the road (you could call it a trail movie).

On top of this you get some dialogue exchanges that are nigh iconic for the Western genre. For instance, we've all seen those Westerns where the aging protagonist and a female half his age fall in love and ride off into the sunset, but there's a scene in "The Train Robbers" where the hot widow reveals her attraction to the aged-but-commanding Lane wherein he frankly informs her: "I got a saddle that's older than you are, Mrs. Lowe." This, of course, swiftly douses any romantic sparks.

Some criticize that the title is misleading, but it's applicable in three ways: (1.) Mr. Lowe robbed a train of $500,000 in gold before the movie begins, (2.) Lane & his team "rob" the abandoned train in the desert, and (3.) when the group decide to chase the train at the end one of them specifies that he's going to "rob a train!"

As for the cavil that there's no central villain and that the gang chasing the protagonists are faceless gun-fodder, while this is true you have to respect the film for saying, "Villain, villain? We don't need no stinking villain." Besides, there IS a villain in the predominant cast. A conman IS a villain, albeit with a smile and charm. The ending reveals all and those who complain about the lack of a key antagonist are doofuses who can't see the forest for the trees.

For those who scratch their heads at various elements of the plot, just connect the dots from the various dialogues and it makes sense. It's all there.

I admit that "The Train Robbers" is palpably flawed for the reasons cited earlier. If the filmmakers would've just taken a little more time and spent a little more money to work out the kinks it could've been a latter-day Wayne Western on the level of "True Grit" (1969), "The Cowboys" (1972) and "Rooster Cogburn" (1975). Still, its highlights make it not far off; it's an entertaining cult Western.

The film runs 92 minutes and was shot in Durango, Sonora & Chihuahua, Mexico; and Yuma, Arizona.

GRADE: B


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