Mackenna's Gold (1969) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A bandit kidnaps a Marshal who has seen a map showing a gold vein on Indian lands, but other groups are looking for it too, while the Apache try to keep the secret location undisturbed.

  • The gangster Colorado kidnaps Marshal McKenna. He believes that McKenna has seen a map which leads to a rich vein of gold in the mountains and forces him to show him the way. But they're not the only ones who are after the gold, soon they meet a group of "honorable" citizens and the cavalry crosses their way too, and that is even before they enter Indian territory.

  • In the harsh and unforgiving landscape of 1870s Arizona, Marshal Mackenna is taken hostage by John Colorado, a ruthless Mexican outlaw, who believes that the stoic sheriff has memorised a map which leads to the fabled canyon of gold, the Cañón del Oro. As the sacred gold belongs to the Apaches, no white man shall get his hands on the precious treasure; however, Colorado's cutthroats, greedy townsfolk, and renegade U.S. Cavalry officers have all caught the fever of gold. The journey to the legendary valley is long and perilous but very promising; nevertheless, what good is a mountain of riches when you're dead?


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Sheriff McKenna (Peck) kills an old Indian Chief in a shootout. While going through a sack, he discovers an old Map that leads to "Canyon del Oro." Soon McKenna becomes surrounded with a rag tag group of citizens and criminals who want part of the Gold for themselves. During their journey they encouner hostility from within and outside the group. While traveling towards the Canyon on horseback, the group has to face attacks from hostile Indian tribes, and deal with discrimination from within the group's members against each other. During their journey the group increases with newcomers who also have dreams of their own about the Gold and what they want it for? After they reach the Canyon, all bets are off and everyone is out for themselves as they greedily begin to stack rocks of gold in their pockets and in horses' side satchels. Meanwhile, the spirit of the old Indian Chief begins to cause the walls of the Canyon to collapse to bury the gold. It will be a miracle if any of them can escape from the wrath of old Chief's destructive spirit and get out of the Canyon alive.

    I remember seeing Ted Cassidy, aka "Lurch" from the "The Addams Family", playing the role of one of the Native American Indians in the film. Steve Horvath, Chicago, IL

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