Release Year: 1964
Director: Gordon Douglas
Writers: Joseph Landon (screenplay), Clair Huffaker (screenplay – based on his 1958 novel Guns of Rio Conchos)
Starring: Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman, Anthony Franciosa, Wende Wagner, Warner Anderson, Jim Brown, Rodolfo Acosta
Rating: Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Actor – Drama (Anthony Franciosa)
Former confederate officer James Lassiter (Richard Boone) and a Mexican (Anthony Franciosa) try to prevent a former Confederate Colonel from selling weapons to the pack of venegade Apaches responsible for the murder of Lassiter’s family.
Rio Conchos is a conventional, yet graphically violent, Western of the old school directed by Gordon Douglas (Them!, 1954) and realised just before a number of Italian directors heavily influenced the way the genre would go with films such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968). The story might seem slightly familiar, which is not something that usually stands in the way of a good Western as many themes where reused again and again and the setting obviously remained much the same. In Rio Conchos, the lingering effects of the Civil War lingers in the lives of its characters and intertwines with personal grief as well as vengeance. Colonel Wagner, played by Warner Anderson (My Reputation, 1946), makes a good living out of weapons sales and other such crimes, while strutting around in his uniform overseeing the construction of his mansion as if the American South had never lost the war. Lassiter on the other hand is a broken man, both from the war and from his personal grief. All the minor characters are portrayed in stereotypical ways, including the Mexican Rodriguez, although Franciosa’s (A Face in the Crowd, 1957) charm makes up for a lot. But the real star of the film is Richard Boone (Big Jake, 1971) who gives a great and nuanced performance. The story is not much in terms of surprises but does what it sets out to do and the result is a good solid Western of the old school. Highly recommended to classic Western fans.
The plot is quite similar to the John Wayne Western Comancheros (1961) which also starred Stuart Whitman.
The film début of Jim Brown (The Dirty Dozen, 1967) who gave up his football career at its peak to try for a career in acting.
The movie was filmed in Moab, Utah although the story is set in Mexico where Rio Conchos is situated.
Picture Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox