Synopsis by Hal Erickson
John Wayne and Kirk Douglas spend half of The War Wagon trying to knock one another off and the other half working shoulder to shoulder. Settling an old score with avaricious mine owner Bruce Cabot, Wayne plans to steal a $500,000 gold shipment from his enemy. Douglas, at first hired by Cabot to kill Wayne, goes along with the robbery scheme. Also in on the plan is Howard Keel, superbly cast as a world-weary, wisecracking Native American (it's the sort of part that nowadays would go to Graham Greene). The titular war wagon is the armor-plated, Gatling-gun fortified stagecoach wherein Cabot's gold is transported. Thus the stage is set for a slam-bang finale, and director Burt Kennedy isn't about to disappoint the viewers. Best bit: after Kirk and The Duke gun down Cabot's henchmen Bruce Dern and Chuck Roberson, Douglas quips "Mine hit the ground first"--whereupon Wayne replies "Mine was taller."
con/scam, cowboy, frame-up, fraud, gold, greed, killing, mine, Native-American, one-against-odds, revenge, stagecoach