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A Union colonel with a herd of cattle crosses paths with an ex-Confederate colonel's gang in Mexico.
John Wayne, that pillar of machismo, was well aware that costar Rock Hudson was gay, yet he prized him as a boon companion, a fellow professional, and one hell of a bridge player. Each plays a Civil War commander who, after the ceasefire, leads a community of home folks into Mexico to make a fresh start. Hudson is a Southern gentleman; Wayne commanded the Yankee cavalry at Shiloh, where Hudson's brother died. Nevertheless, Rock, with his extended family, and Duke, with his troop of cowboys and 3,000 horses to sell to Emperor Maximilian, soon join forces to outgun banditos and beam paternally over the budding romance between their respective daughter and son (an adopted Indian played by footballer Roman Gabriel with Crystal Gayle hair). Lingering North-South animosities are celebrated in an obligatory communal fistfight in the Andrew V. McLaglen manner, and the showdown with both Maximilian's lancers and the rebel Juaristas is disconcertingly perfunctory. --Richard T. Jameson
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Rock Hudson never looked so good. A damn shame his life ended so soon. This shows only a minuscule amount of his versatile dramatic potential. I collect all of his unusual performances, in roles you wouldn't expect him to appear. Here he plays a gentile southern land owner whose way of life is threatened. He is excellent.
John Wayne is more or less in the usual role of trail boss. No dramatic intensity here, just his usual, for me Rock is the picture.
A movie that has drama, humor, good action sequences, good plot, and well worth watching more than once. Includes stars and supporting characters we all recognize. You will not regret buying it.
The relationships between the characters is really what I enjoy the most about this movie. They know when to push each other's buttons, and they know when to get serious. It's about moving beyond the hurts and pains of the past; it's about forging ahead to make a new future; and it's about the bonds of friendship.