Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Barquero (1970)

Lee Van Cleef and Forest Tucker play a ferryman and a mountain man who take on a bad man Warren Oates and his men, in a minor, but enjoyable little western.

The plot of the film has bad guy Warren Oates and his men on the run from the army with a wagon full of silver and other goodies. They are laying waste to everyone and everything in their path. They are heading to a small landing where they seek to ford the river in order to make it safely to Mexico.

Van Cleef and Tucker know that even if they let Oates cross the river, odds are strong that they will end up dead, so they take everyone they can, load them onto the barge and cross the river stranding Oates on the wrong side. They hope to stall long enough for the army to arrive. Unfortunately not everyone crossed the river and a stand off results.

Far from the best Western ever made this is a nice little time passer. I had never heard of it before I caught it as part of Encore Western's Lee Van Cleef tribute. It's a nice little film that takes the idea of a stand off between good guys and bad guys and does something different with it. I'll give any western that's not the same old program plot.

One of the nice things for me was that the film gives Forest Tucker a real role like he used to have prior to F Troop and the silly kids shows that he did in the late 70's. I've always been a fan of Tucker's first in F Troop and later once I found his body of film work from the 50's and early 60's.

If the film has flaw in the casting, it's that the cast is full of actors and actresses who would all become TV series stalwarts (Kerwin Matthews, Harry Lauter, Mariette Hartley and others) so the film feels like a made for TV feel.

I really had a good time seeing it. While it's not something I need to own, it is something I'll watch again if I run across it.

On demand at Amazon and elsewhere. On import DVD.

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