After the Civil War, ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico run into ex-Union cavalrymen selling horses to the Mexican government but they must join forces to fight off Mexican bandits and revolutionaries.
Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
J.D. Cahill is the toughest U.S. Marshal they've got, just the sound of his name makes bad guys stop in their tracks, so when his two young boys want to get his attention they decide to rob a bank. They end up getting more than they bargained for.Written by
Christopher D. Ryan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What happens when an Old West Marshal neglects his two sons
Released in 1973 and directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, "Cahill United States Marshal" is a Western starring John Wayne as the titular marshal and Neville Brand as his half-Native tracker in the Southwest. Widower Cahill is so busy with his work that he's neglectful of his two sons, 10 and 17, and thus they veer toward delinquency, hooking up with a group of ne'er-do-wells (led by George Kennedy). After getting away with robbing a bank, the sons must deal with the moral conundrum of a (dubious) group of men being hanged for a crime they didn't commit.
The Duke had some great or near great Westerns in the final two decades of his career (e.g. "The Horse Soldiers," "The Alamo," "The Comancheros," "El Dorado," "True Grit," "The Cowboys," "The Train Robbers" and "Rooster Cogburn"), but "Cahill" isn't one of 'em. While I appreciate that Wayne tried to do something different by having the story focus on the ramifications of his neglected kids, the movie simply isn't very compelling and the boys aren't interesting as characters. It doesn't help that Kennedy is decidedly cartoony as the villain. Disregarding the awesome Western locations, the storytelling smacks of a 60s or 70's TV show Western.
Yet, if you're a Duke fan, "Cahill" is mandatory viewing. The relationship between Cahill and the tracker (Brand) is a highlight, as is the Western scenery. Speaking of the latter, the movie is further hampered by three nighttime sequences obviously shot in the studio, which appear at the beginning, middle and end, but that's a minor cavil.
The film runs 103 minutes and was shot in Sonora, Mexico; Arizona; and Calderon Ranch, California. The screenplay was written by Harry & Rita Fink based on Barney Slater's story.
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