The Train Robbers (1973)

There are 169 replies in this Thread which has previously been viewed 159,004 times. The latest Post () was by lasbugas.

Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!



    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    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.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne ... Lane
    Ann-Margret ... Mrs. Lowe
    Rod Taylor ... Grady
    Ben Johnson ... Jesse
    Christopher George ... Calhoun
    Bobby Vinton ... Ben Young
    Jerry Gatlin ... Sam Turner
    Ricardo Montalban ... The Pinkerton man

    Writing Credits
    Burt Kennedy

    Original Music
    Dominic Frontiere

    William H. Clothier

    Cliff Lyons .... stunt coordinator
    Denny Arnold .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
    Louie Elias .... stunts (uncredited)
    Glory Fioramonti .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Terry Leonard .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
    'Chema' Hernandez .... head wrangler (uncredited)

    * John Wayne's and Ann-Margret's character names, "Lane" and "Mrs. Lowe," are the same as Wayne's and Geraldine Page's characters' names in Hondo (1953).

    * Crew or equipment visible: As the gang is searching for a sand-covered railroad track in a sand storm they have yet to find anything. Yet behind them, to the right of the picture, as the camera moves to the right slightly, we get a clear view of the camera dolly track, shiny and sand-free.

    * Factual errors: 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.

    * Anachronisms: During the shootout at the abandoned railroad crash site, when John Wayne is talking to Ann Margret, tire tracks can be clearly seen in the sand.

    * Revealing mistakes: In the opening scene of the movie when they show you the town from a distance on a windy day, dust is only blowing from behind the buildings, and not on the roads and open areas, indicating hidden wind machines.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Location
    Durango, Mexico

    Watch this Clip (Spanish)

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 13 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • The Train Robbers is a 1973 Western film starring John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor and Ben Johnson.
    The movie was written and directed by Burt Kennedy.
    Rod Taylor is billed above the title with John Wayne and Ann-Margret
    but has a relatively small role.[1]

    Not a bad film, but not a great film.
    Probably one of Duke's weakest, late films.
    They at least had got the point and moved him on
    from having young, love interests.
    Ann-Margaret, was really just window dressing,
    but Chuck Hayward and Duke sorted out her fear of horses.
    but Ben, and Rod Taylor acquitted themselves well.
    However I thought the film, anything but mediocre.

    Click on the links below, for previous discussion,
    The Train Robbers

    The Train Robbers- Lost Footage

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Its what Pilar would have called a Batjac family movie. It is not a classic but not bad. Worth an occasional viewing as with Cahill Hondo and Mc Lintock are part of a set that dont seem to get the same exposure as others.


  • Hi Senta

    Pilar Wayne's description of a lot of the westerns made by John Wayne in the 1960s and 70s was as Family movies. This was because many of the cast /technical crew/ support staff had acted in previous JW films. They also tended to be shot in and around Durango. To a lesser extent the storylines in some of the movies were repeated. Pilar would have beeen aware of this as she was on location with children for some of these shoots.

    Also, because Batjac company was a small company they tend to recruit tried and test staff who they knew could perform and were within their costings.

    On screening JW movies at his home cinema a game played by Wayne family was to identify how many familar faces/names they could see in films and credits.


  • Hi Mike,
    Thank you for the comment. I like Train Robbers. For a pity I have it on VHS, that was released here, but the copy is not bad. The bad thing is that in russian translation.

  • I would agree, not one of the better of the Duke's movies, but worthy of being in a collection of JW movies.

    Deep Discount DVD offers the movie individually as well as paired with Tall in the Saddle as a "double feature" in additon to being part of the boxed set John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection. It seems there are no posters that go with this film.

    Amazon offers it the same three ways as Deep Discount, for a little more $$$.

    Chester :newyear:

  • Hi all,
    Being in Finland I purchased it on DVD for the 2 zone. I think that the contents are the same as in the part of Legendary heroes collection that I haven't. I like all features and the widescreen DVD, it is very good quality.

  • An enjoyable film (again, not a great film). One of my favorite parts of the film is when Rod Taylor and Ben Johnson are waiting for the bad guys to make their move, and start talking about old times. The scene goes on for an extended time, and when it's over, I found myself wishing it could have gone on even longer. I also enjoyed the scene where Christopher George's horse gets stuck under a tree. After he pleads to his friends to try and save it (and once they do), he has a new-found respect for Duke. One the minus side, it would have been nice to know a little something about the bad guys who were following them for the length of the movie. Basically, they were just a faceless mob, who was really just there to get shot down by Wayne and company.

    Still, I find myself enjoying this one more and more, on repeated viewings. My rating...7/10

  • The Train Robbers (Burt Kennedy, 1973) is mildly entertaining and lightly enjoyable, and I certainly prefer it to Rooster Cogburn (Stuart Millar, 1975). However, it's also slight and simplistic, and it needed a richer writer-director than Burt Kennedy to bring out greater depths and darkness, the kind of intricacy and tension that could have made the film something more than disposable entertainment. I didn't feel that Kennedy set up the bizarre, comically ambiguous "twist' ending with appropriate development, either. On the brighter side, Wayne's performance is quite sharp and fluid, really marking an alert groove. I love the silent rage the he suddenly displays at the end of Ann-Margaret's drunken diatribe.

  • I thought this was a rather enjoyable film, not the greatest thing ever made, but a good way to spend an hour and a half.

    My favourite line was when the Duke tells Ann-Margret that he has saddles older than her. If that isn't a great, truthful line, then I don't know what is.

    [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]

  • Quote

    Originally posted by dc65@Sep 14 2006, 09:45 AM
    My favourite line was when the Duke tells Ann-Margret that he has saddles older than her. If that isn't a great, truthful line, then I don't know what is.


    Yeah, at least is displays some refreshing honesty about Hollywood's age conventions.

  • This is one of John Waynes most forgotten movies, upon doing a search relating to this film I was surprised to realise how highly it is regarded by many who have watched it. Below is an interesting review by Roger Egbert which he did in 1973, his observation relating to the colour used in the movie is very interesting.

    Burt Kennedy's "The Train Robbers" is a very curious Western, and it gets curiouser the more you think about it. I wonder if there's ever been a Western as visually uncluttered as this one. Most of the action takes place in the high desert around Durango, Mexico, and Kennedy goes for clean blue skies, sculpted white sand dunes and human figures arranged against the landscape in compositions so tasteful we're reminded of samurai dramas.
    Aw, come on, you're probably thinking by now: What's all this crap about visual compositions? It's a John Wayne Western, isn't it? Is it any good, or not? Well, yes, it's fairly good, In a quiet and workmanlike sort of way, although there's a plot twist at the end that ruins things unnecessarily. But what's best about it, what makes it worth seeing, is Kennedy's visual approach to the subject of John Wayne. Wayne by now is an artifact, a national heirloom, one of the few immutable presences created by the movies. He is perhaps the only Western actor alive (maybe the only one ever) who can get away with scenes like this one: His group has been riding through the desert all day, pursued by a mysterious band of gunmen. They pull up at a small hacienda. Will they spend the night there? No, because Wayne hears a baby crying. There is likely to be shooting later on, and Wayne asks Ben Johnson: "Did you ever bury a baby? Well, neither did I, and I'm not about to start now. Ride on." They ride on into the night. Now this is honorable dialog; we agree with him; we're glad Wayne doesn't want to endanger the baby. And because it is John Wayne playing this scene, we never pause to realize that such a scene, and such dialog, would be ridiculously impossible in any other context. The audience would be howling if Steve McQueen or Paul Newman - or Robert Mitchum - tried the dialog.
    Only Wayne can make plausible the morality in his Westerns. In the new Westerns, the ones by Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone and their imitators, the West is a place of anarchy, sadism and routine bloodshed. It almost has to be. Apart from Wayne, there are no actors left who can get away with being decent Western heroes. Am I making this up? Think for a moment.
    So. The Wayne character in "The Train Robbers" agrees to help a widow (Ann-Margret) recover some gold her husband had stolen some years before. She wants to return the gold to the railroad it was stolen from, to clear her husband's name and allow her young son to grow up proud. This seems like a sensible plan to Wayne, and he raises a band of friends (Ben Johnson, Rod Taylor, and two younger guns) to help the widow. Their payment will be the $50,000 reward money - although at the movie's end, they forgo even this.
    There is a lot of action in the movie - blazing gun battles and stuff like that - but the movie's core is in the campfire scenes, when the characters talk about each other and their beliefs. The Wayne character, not to our surprise, turns out to be heroic in war and noble in peacetime, a subscriber to old moral codes. And it is here that Burt Kennedy's visual strategy comes in.
    His material (he also wrote the movie) is, in the context of a Western being released in 1973, a little old-fashioned. The moral drives of Western heroes were fashionable in the 1950s, especially in the movies where John Ford directed Wayne. But no longer. In 1973, any plot exposition at all in a Western seems to drag.
    So Kennedy wisely decided to eliminate absolutely every trace of visual clutter, and to shoot his movie with almost abstract clarity. The "town" at the beginning of the movie, for example, consists of two stark structures, a railroad track and a mountain on the horizon. There is not even a railroad crossing sign. Once out of town, the characters inhabit a landscape of horizons and clean natural lines. Kennedy goes for silhouettes and, as I've mentioned, for the kind of carefully casual arrangements of figures we find in samurai films - the Japanese Western.
    The result is a movie that isolates the John Wayne mystique and surrounds it with the necessary simplicity and directness. It's too bad that the scale of the plot is a little too small for the scale of the characters, and too bad that Kennedy got in an ironic mood at the end. But he understands John Wayne, all right.



  • I like the fact the bad guys are unknown through out...left us in the same boat as the Duke...the bad guys were just coming..that's all you knew. GSP

    "...all of this and General Price that baby sister makes it back to Yell county" --Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.