4 user 1 critic

The Desperate Mission (1969)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | TV Movie 20 November 1969
A man who has lost everything joins others paid to convey a wealthy man's wife - and a mysterious treasure - to safety in San Francisco.


Earl Bellamy


Richard Collins (created by), Jack Guss (created by) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ricardo Montalban ... Joaquin Murieta
Slim Pickens ... Three-Finger Jack
Roosevelt Grier ... Morgan
Jim McMullan ... Arkansaw
Earl Holliman ... Shad Clay
Ina Balin ... Otilia Ruiz
Robert J. Wilke ... Gant
Miriam Colon ... Claudina, Otilia's Servant
Anthony Caruso ... Don Miguel Ruiz
Eddra Gale ... Delores the Bartender
Armando Silvestre ... Diego Campos, Don Miguel's Man
José Chávez José Chávez ... First Monk
Ben Archibek Ben Archibek ... Frankie Gant
Pancho Córdova Pancho Córdova ... Father Augustine (as Francisco de Córdova)
Charles Horvath ... Yuma


19th Century figure Joaquin Murietta is a formerly wealthy and respected California landowner. However, he has lost his land, his wife, and everything else he held dear. Embittered and questioning his previous faith in God and man, he joins a disparate group of men hired to convey a wealthy man's wife away from the bandit-ridden countryside to safety in San Francisco. Murietta discovers that the convoy is also carrying a treasure of great material and religious value. He finds himself challenged to decide what he believes, and what he should do, in the face of threats to himself, to the convoy, and to the people of southern California. Written by Charles Delacroix

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Joaquin Murieta ... a legend written in blood ! See more »


Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

20 November 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joaquin Murietta See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Filmed in 1969, not broadcast until 1971. See more »


During the showdown between Murietta and Clay in the wide shots the sky is dark blue but in the closeup of Murrietta the sky behind him is pitch black. See more »


Claudina, Otilia's Servant: Why are only the poor so devoted to God?
Otilia Ruiz: Someone had to pay attention to God. The rich are too busy.
See more »

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User Reviews

Okay TV Movie
2 April 2010 | by FightingWesternerSee all my reviews

Wealthy Spaniard Ricardo Montalban loses his land and roams the west, joining up with redneck Earl Holliman's band of mercenaries, including Slim Pickens and Rosey Grier. They're hired by a Mexican landowner to escort his wife to San Francisco, a mission that masks an ulterior motive.

This has pretty good production values for a late-sixties/early-seventies made-for-television movie. It's fairly decent too, but a lack of action and focus in the first hour keeps it from being as good as it could have been. Basically, it's a TV show that looks like a feature film.

Still, it's worth watching for the great performances and characterizations. The charismatic Montalban is perfectly cast as a wise, cultured hero. He and the likable, but shifty Holliman contrast nicely and play well together, for a while at least.

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