RIO CONCHOS (1964) is an American western produced by David Weisbart. It was written by Joseph Landon and Clair Huffaker based on her novel GUNS OF RIO CONCHOS (1958). The director was Gordon Douglas (THEM! ; IN LIKE FLINT ; THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS ). It stars Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman, and Tony Franciosa.
Richard Boone as Lassiter
Stuart Whitman as Captain Haven
Tony Franciosa as Rodriguez
Jim Brown as Sergeant Franklyn
Wende Wagner as Sally
Major Lassiter – an ex-Confederate army officer – has a private war going with the Apache. They killed his wife and daughter. He is using a stolen U.S. Army repeating rifle he bought from a man named Pardee. There is concern that Pardee or someone like him will sell these stolen rifles to the Apache thereby shifting the balance of power.
The army arrests Lassiter and will only free him if he agrees to lead a small scouting group into Mexico to find the rifles. The group consists of Lassiter, Haven the army captain who lost the rifles in the first place, Franklyn a buffalo soldier, Rodriguez who is Lassiter’s man, and later on an Apache woman who they call Sally.
Fighting their way thru bandits, Apaches, and gunmen they eventually do find Pardee and he is in fact selling guns to the Apaches – including those who killed Lassiter’s family. What is Lassiter’s reaction when he finds this out? Do our heroes stop Pardee? Do they get the rifles back? What about the Indian girl?
You are going to have a lot of fun watching this movie and answering these questions for yourselves.
- This is the film debut of Jim Brown. At the peak of his football career he gave it up to become an actor.
- RIO CONCHOS was released while Tony Franciosa was starring in a sitcom called VALENTINE’S DAY (1964-1965). To publicize the movie he recreated his character Rodriguez in an episode.
- This was Wende Wagner’s debut and she gets an “introducing” credit.
- And once again the evil Indians are the bad guys. However, this time it is a bit offset by having an Indian girl as one of the heroes.
- There is a baby in this movie. I’m not going to go into details – spoilers! But I don’t do babies in movies.
- I love Richard Boone and I think he is a highly underrated actor. I love him in HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL (1957-1963) and if you have never seen this show you have to check it out. I also loved him in HEC RAMSEY (1972-1974), as the bad guy in BIG JAKE (1971), and just about anything else I’ve seen him in.
- I enjoyed seeing Wende Wagner. She played Miss Case in THE GREEN HORNET (1966-1967). She and Bruce Lee were the best thing about that show. Interestingly enough, in RIO CONCHOS she has no lines whatsoever in English.
- Big Jim Brown is in this movie. In fact, this is his first movie. Thank God it wasn’t his last because I loved watching his movies in the 60s and 70s. If you want a treat check out a movie he made calledKENNER (1960). I love this movie!!!
RIO CONCHOS, like DUEL AT DIABLO (1966) which I reviewed last week, are great westerns that did not do well initially but have stood the test of time. Some westerns easily become dated. Some, upon a second viewing, have you asking yourself what was it I liked the first time? I have watched RIO CONCHOSat least a half a dozen times and have loved it every time. That is saying a lot for any movie.
RIO CONCHOS is a damn good western! It’s a little off beat – the heroes are not your typical western heroes. It’s very violent. Not Sam Peckinpah violent – those movies come a little later on. But it ain’t comic book violence either. What it has is a good story, told with gusto, and played to the hilt by the various actors. You lose yourself for two hours – and isn’t that what movies are supposed to do?
It should come as no surprise that I enthusiastically give RIO CONCHOS four gray geeks on our rating scale. Excelsior!
Well, that is it for this time buckaroos. I thank you kindly for keeping me company. I appreciate it when we visit together. Nex time I’m thinking of taking a look at THE COMANCHEROS (1961) a movie that is similar to RIO CONCHOS in many ways. Until then, Hasta la vista!