The Train Robbers (1973)
Rod Taylor plays Grady, one of the buddies that John Wayne calls upon
to help recover some hidden gold.
Writer/director Burt Kennedy specializes in Westerns with a comic touch.
Here he sets a mood of amiable adventure among colorful, well-drawn characters
-- and winds it all up with a surprise ending.
Ann-Margret stars as Mrs. Lowe, a widow who wishes to recover some gold
her late husband stole from a bank. She says she wants to return it and
clear her family name.
She persuades Lane (John Wayne) to ride into Mexico with her and recover
the loot, which is hidden in a train engine laying on its side in the desert.
Lane recruits help, including longtime compadres and fellow Civil War veterans
Grady (Rod Taylor) and Jesse (Ben Johnson). The young guns were played by Bobby
Vinton and Christopher George.
Once they cross the border, however, they discover two very different
pursuers: a large group of bandidos and a Pinkerton Agent (Ricardo Montalban).
After recovering the gold, Lane and his friends decide to let Mrs. Lowe
keep the reward money -- $50,000. Lane is told that the gesture was touching
but... the woman wasn't who she said she was.
Rod's best scenes are a couple he shares with Ben Johnson, as the two
old friends bond with their memories and at their chagrin at growing older.
The New York Times noted these performances:
The cast is for the most part quite lovely, led by a gentle Wayne, too old
for romance but not for regrets, and well supported ... in fine restrained
performance by Ben Johnson and Rod Taylor.
Variety magazine reviewed this movie as...
An above-average John Wayne actioner, written and directed
by Burt Kennedy with suspense, comedy and humanism not usually found in
the formula. ... Kennedy has provided a series of rich, deep individual
characterizations, plus some intriguing red-herring plot twists.
Further intrigue occurred off-screen, according to an issue of "TV-Movies
Today" magazine in 1973:
Roger Smith -- Ann-Margret's husband -- is jealous and
possessive around Ann and resents the attention that her sexy style brings
from other men. ...
Rod Taylor, who co-starred with Ann and John Wayne in
"The Train Robbers," was frank about his conflict with Roger.
"Sure I think Ann's gorgeous ... but I wasn't out to take her away
from her husband. What angered me was the way he's always standing around
the set watching everything she does."
The actual confrontation between the two men came not
during working hours but at a party. Says Rod, "He walked in and shouted
'Where the blank, blank, blank is my wife?'" Rod objected to that
kind of language being used about any woman and the shouting match was
on. Fortunately the men were separated by other party-goers before any
physical violence would erupt.