As the war ends, Union Army Colonel John Henry Thomas retires and takes his adopted Cherokee Indian son Blue Boy (played stiffly by L.A. Ram quarterback Roman Gabriel) and the surviving men from his company to Mexico (including stock characters such as an ornery cook and tough-minded but good-hearted soldiers), where they bring a herd of 3,000 wild horses they sold to representatives of Emperor Maximilian’s government for top dollar. This sale is consummated after Union purchasers try to chisel the Colonel in the horse-trade. At the same time, Confederate Army Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson) burns down his plantation rather than to sell out to carpetbaggers and takes a band of discontented Confederate soldiers and their familes by wagon train to exile in Mexico as guests of Emperor Maximilian. Among the party is Little George (played by Merlin Olsen with more oomph than his L.A. Ram teammate), a young junior officer (Jan-Michael Vincent) who is pining after the Colonel’s resistant 16-year-old daughter Charlotte, and the Colonel’s always grimacing wife Ann and his pretty widow sister-in-law Margaret (Lee Meriwether)—around for a sort of love interest to John Henry Thomas, though nothing ever materializes. At one point in the wilderness, Margaret is garbed in a gown that Yves St. Laurent could have created.
In the course of their expedition to Mexico, the two opposing sides meet up and fight off Mexican bandits together. This brings some good will, though the Southerners are still despondent they lost the war. They celebrate together a Fourth of July party hosted by the Rebs and rekindle their allegiances with a good-natured drunken brawl. Blue Boy and Charlotte fall in love by just looking at each other, and in the name of racial harmony their romance prospers—meant to be taken as an optimistic sign the country is becoming united after the war. The problem was their romance was unconvincing and awkwardly achieved.
Unfortunately for Colonel Langdon’s rebs is that their arrival in Durango, Mexico, coincides with the Juarez revolution, and they are given a feast and then taken prisoners by General Rojas (Tony Aguilar). Rojas orders Langdon to ride out to Thomas’s camp and get him to surrender the horses to the revolution or else all the Southerners will be shot. —Ozu’s World of Movie Reviews
Andrew Victor McLaglen (born 28 July 1920) is a British-American film and television director and former actor.
Andrew McLaglen was born in London, the son of British actor Victor McLaglen and Enid Lamont. He was from a film family that included eight uncles and an aunt, and he grew up on movie sets with his parents as well as John Wayne and John Ford. After working as an assistant director on a few smaller films, Ford gave him the assistant director job on the film The Quiet Man (1952).
After a few more assistant or second director jobs, McLaglen directed his first film Gun The Man Down in 1956 – a western B-movie with James Arness, Angie Dickinson and Harry Carey, Jr..
He went on to work extensively in television directing, directing episodes of Perry Mason (7), Gunslinger (5), Rawhide (6), and then 99 episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel, The Lieutenant (4), The Virginian (2), and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke.
Returning to films – directing Shenandoah (1965… read more