The Train Robbers, starring John Wayne and Ann-Margret VHS version
Four out of five stars
Ann-Margret plays “the woman,” a widow (Mrs. Lowe played by Ann-Margret) with a child whose husband robbed a train of a half million dollars worth of gold and hid it just south of the border between the US and Mexico. Mrs. Low hires Civil War veteran Lane (John Wayne) to form a team to go to Mexico and recover the gold in order to claim the $50,000 reward. Only Mrs. Lowe knows where the gold is, her husband’s former partners in crime do not know where the gold is hidden, only that Mrs. Lowe knows where it is.
After forming his crew, Mrs. Lowe insists on riding along and Lane agrees, deciding to use her as she sticks out in all the right places. His strategy is to allow the former partners in crime to be able to see her at a distance and believe that she is leading them to the gold, but have not found it yet. Towards this end, Lane deliberately shrinks her top.
There is a lot of action, some gentle sexual innuendo and several amusing parts based on male bonding in difficult situations. Some of the people in Lane’s team fought with him in the Civil war, actions where only a few men in their unit survived the battle. A great deal of the action is predictable, typical of a John Wayne western.
Throughout their quest, a large group of hardened gunmen follow them at a distance, simply waiting for Lane’s team to find the gold and start back. That is when the battle begins, revealing that the gunmen are not well organized and disciplined. The residue of their military discipline gives the Lane team an edge.
While the intended humor is not quite as effective as the producers intended, it will elicit a minimum of a smile in all viewers. Throughout the pursuit, there is a mysterious man played by Ricardo Montalban that is not allied with either side. At the end, his role is revealed, leading to a completely unexpected revelation about Mrs. Lowe and her past. This is the best part of the movie.