The Train Robbers, by Sam Bowie
Four out of five stars
This is the novelization of a movie starring John Wayne and Ann-Margret and as such works go, it is pretty good. Many times, the author of the novel writes under the supposition that the reader has seen the movie and can visualize the main character(s) delivering their lines. That is not the case here, I have of course viewed the movie, but the book read as if I hadn’t. The tension and excitement were there as Lane (John Wayne) takes his band of adventurers on the trail of a stash of gold, the location of which is known only to Mrs. Lowe (Ann-Margret). The gold was stolen by the gang led by Mrs. Lowe’s dead husband and the mission is to travel to a very remote and desolate area of Mexico to recover it.
Traveling is slow and dangerous in both the climactic and human sense. The remnants of the gang are trailing Lane’s band so that once the gold is recovered, they can kill all members of the band and take it for themselves.
This sets up a combination of battles taking several forms, including some internal ones as a band of men that operate on the edge of the law keep themselves in check around an attractive woman and an even more attractive half-million dollars in gold. It is a great adventure, well told and with an unexpected ending.