doesn't quite have the scope or ambition of Howard Hawks' greatest Westerns, Red River
and Rio Bravo
. But this relaxed picture, made near the end of Hawks' marvellous career, still shows the steady, sure hand of a master. Hawks reunites with John Wayne, playing a hired gun mixed up in a range war; Robert Mitchum is Wayne's old pal, now a sheriff in the midst of a hopeless drunken bender. James Caan, in one of his first sizable roles, plays a kid who can't shoot straight and wears a funny hat (every character in the movie makes fun of this hat). As the plot moves along, it begins to resemble Rio Bravo
rather closely ("I steal from myself all the time", Hawks was fond of admitting). But in El Dorado
the heroes are a bit older, their powers a bit weaker; at the end Wayne must revert to a bit of subterfuge in order to get the drop on the steely gunslinger (ice-cold Christopher George) he needs to put down. As relaxed as the movie is, Hawks and Wayne and company are in good spirits, with plenty of broad humour and easy camaraderie on display. Hawks and Wayne would make just one more film, the disappointing Rio Lobo
, before ending their fruitful partnership. --Robert Horton
Virtually a remake of Howard Hawks and Wayne's earlier 'Rio Bravo', 'El Dorado' brings a distinctive sixties flavour to this tale of male camaraderie and comedy in the Old West. In post-Civil War El Dorado, the town's alcoholic sheriff, J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum), does his best to battle the local cattle baron, Bart Jason (Edward Asner). Help is at hand, however, with the arrival of his old friend Cole Thornton (John Wayne), an ex-gunfighter who helps him to rid the town of Jason and his cronies.