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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.



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IMDb // Wikipedia

Turner Classic Movies

Ann-Margret show: Rod's appearance in film clip

Pressbook items (PDF)

The last of the Hollywood hell-raisers: Coronet magazine, September 1972 (PDF)

Roger Ebert review



DVD on

Trailer on YouTube

Film clips on YouTube:
Introducing Mrs. Lowe

Film clips on YouTube


Wayne Train (1973)

Rod Taylor appeared in this promotional film for "The Train Robbers," which is included on the DVD edition of the movie. It also features director Burt Kennedy as well as John Wayne, Ann-Margret and Ben Johnson. 

The segment features behind-the-scenes and on-screen footage.