The El Condor, the fabled Mexican stronghold rumoured to contain Emperor Maximilian's mythical reserves in gold, will attract two adventurous fortune seekers, who with eyes gleaming with desire, will shortly know that only fools rush in.
A master gunfighter teams up with a banjo-playing drifter and a Mexican tramp to foil the town leaders of Daugherty, Texas, who want to steal $100,000 from their own bank to buy land that the approaching railroad will cross.
Lee Van Cleef,
After selling his cattle in town, ranch owner Morgan unexpectedly dies, and his foreman Pike has to deliver the payroll to Sonora, despite the perilous journey during which he's followed by many shady characters who want the money.
Tom's parents are killed by Mexican outlaws after their leader (Van Cleef) rapes his mother as he watched. He sets out to exact revenge and is ultimately helped by a successful gold prospector who has been robbed by the same outlaws.
Luke, an escaped convict, and Jaroo, a loner gold prospector, team up with a band of Apache Indians in 19th century Mexico to capture a large, heavily armed fortress for the millions -- or billions -- of dollars in gold that are rumored to be stored within.Written by
Brian C. Madsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Promising leads don't cover an unremarkable western
When he is part of a chain gang, Luke overhears talk of a fort where millions of dollars worth of gold is hidden under the guard of part of the Mexican army. He escapes from his captors and enlists the help of gold prospector Jaroo to help him recover the gold. Jaroo has connections with a tribe of Indians who will be told it is a political matter and promised horses and guns for their help. The duo set out with their enlisted army to attack the fort of General Chavez and steal the gold.
This film looked interesting to me because it had a black star in the lead as well as the grizzled Van Cleef. I didn't know anything about the plot but decided to give it a go. Despite some good touches along the way, there isn't really much that makes this western stand out it's all pretty standard stuff. The ending has a good twist and a downbeat ending but it's nothing that unusual for a western of this sort. The film does have some good bits of light humour, however it also tries to have all the usual clichés thrown in as well we have the two leads fighting, Jaroo being kind to a child (with sappy Mexican music in background), nudity and Wild Bunch style excessive violence at each stage.
The film is still passable as long as you know what you're watching and don't expect too much. As a western it is quite fun if you're just after something undemanding with lots of gunfights. However more than that and you'll be disappointed. The cast carries the film at several points; or at least the lead two do. Jim Brown is a pretty good screen presence even if his skills as an actor leave a little to be desired. Here his physical presence and (slightly out of place, period wise) swagger. Van Cleef has a better character and it's a shame that he plays second fiddle to Brown for much of the film but he is still very interesting to watch. O'Neal is only so-so, Iron Eyes Cody has little to do and Hill is pretty but not much else.
Overall this is a passable western as long as you don't expect too much. It is nicely driven along by the screen presence of Brown and Van Cleef. Other than them and the odd good touch here and there, this film is quite unremarkable as westerns go.
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