The Undefeated, starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson VHS version of the movie
Four out of five stars
The American Civil War has just ended and this story features two Colonels that fought on opposite sides. The John Wayne character fought on the Union side and his immediate plan after discharge is to take the surviving members of his unit west, round up a large herd of wild horses and deliver them to agents of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico.
The Rock Hudson character is facing foreclosure on his plantation and is the leader of a band of men and families that refuse to accept the defeat of the Confederacy. They store away a great deal of arms in wagons and then form a wagon train that is bound for Mexico after an invitation to settle there is offered by Emperor Maximilian.
The two forces encounter each other and join forces to fight off a bandit gang. A tentative alliance is formed, yet they part ways. When the forces in rebellion against the Mexican Emperor triumph in the area, the plans of both the Wayne and Hudson groups are destroyed and they somehow must find a way to survive in what is now a hostile land with more than one force that they must do battle with.
The action is at times very predictable, especially the campwide brawl that lacks only the surrounding context of a bar to be a cliché of the western. There are some points of humor, yet very little tension, for the outcome is clear from the moment the situation has been established. Despite this, it is good, clean western entertainment.