Rio Conchos (film)

Rio Conchos is a 1964 Cinemascope Western starring Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman, Anthony Franciosa, Edmond O'Brien, and in his motion picture debut, Jim Brown, based on Clair Huffaker's novel "Guns of Rio Conchos" published in 1958.

Rio Conchos
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGordon Douglas
Produced byDavid Weisbart
Written byJoseph Landon
Clair Huffaker (novel)
StarringRichard Boone
Stuart Whitman
Tony Franciosa
Edmond O'Brien
Jim Brown
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyJoseph MacDonald
Edited byJoseph Silver
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • October 28, 1964 (1964-10-28)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,500,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Huffaker's novel is reminiscent of the John Wayne-starring films The Comancheros (for which Huffaker co-wrote the screenplay) and The Searchers. The main female role, played by Wende Wagner in a black wig, has no English dialogue. Rio Conchos was filmed in Moab, Utah, though the Conchos River and most of the action of the film takes place in Mexico.

Jerry Goldsmith's complete soundtrack was given a limited release on CD in January 2000 by Film Score Monthly that featured a tie-in title song by Johnny Desmond.[2]

On June 21, 2011, Shout! Factory released the film on DVD as part of a double feature with Take a Hard Ride (1975).[3]


An ex-Confederate Army officer (Richard Boone) named Jim Lassiter, who has been out for revenge against Apache Indians who massacred his family, recovers a stolen U.S. Army repeating rifle from some Apaches he has killed; as the Apache have proven formidable with lesser weaponry, there is cause for concern should they become equipped with such superior firepower.

The U.S. Army arrests him, then offers Lassiter his freedom if he leads a small, clandestine scouting unit into Mexico consisting of an Army captain (Stuart Whitman), a Buffalo Soldier sergeant (Jim Brown), a knife-wielding Mexican prisoner (Tony Franciosa), and later an Apache woman warrior (Wende Wagner).

After blasting their way through bandits and Apaches, they discover Colonel Pardee, another former rebel soldier (Edmond O'Brien), has set up a new Confederate headquarters, and is selling guns to the Apaches, including the ones who slaughtered Lassiter's family.

The woman, who is called Sally, saves his life, so Lassiter puts aside his hatred. He and Franklyn sacrifice themselves to save Sally and the Army captain Haven while holding off Pardee and his men.



Parts of the film were shot at Professor Valley, Fisher Towers, Castle Valley, Arches, and Dead Horse Point in Utah.[4]


The posters used the same approach to billing as Warner Bros. had in 1948's Key Largo, for which Humphrey Bogart had been listed first but Edward G. Robinson was placed in the middle of the three above-the-title leads with his name elevated higher than the other two (the third name being Lauren Bacall's). In the case of Rio Conchos, Whitman was billed as Bogart had been, with Boone in Robinson's middle slot and Franciosa in Bacall's spot, with his name listed third going left to right and at the same height as Whitman's. Quite differently, however, Boone was billed before Whitman in the movie itself, with each name appearing onscreen one at a time.


According to Fox records, the film needed to earn $5,300,000 in film rentals to break even and made $4,610,000, meaning it lost money.[5]

See also


  1. "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.
  2. Clemmensen, Christian. Rio Conchos soundtrack review at Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  4. D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
  5. Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 323.
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