The Appaloosa

The Appaloosa (also known as Southwest to Sonora) is a 1966 American Western film Technicolor (set in the 1870s) from Universal Pictures starring Marlon Brando, Anjanette Comer and John Saxon, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a Mexican bandit. The film was directed by Sidney J. Furie, and shot in Techniscope in California, Utah, and Arizona.

The Appaloosa
Theatrical poster
Directed bySidney J. Furie
Produced byAlan Miller
Written byJames Bridges
Roland Kibbee
Based onThe Appaloosa
by Robert McLeod
StarringMarlon Brando
Anjanette Comer
John Saxon
Emilio Fernández
Míriam Colón
Music byFrank Skinner
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byTed J. Kent
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 15, 1966 (1966-09-15) (New York City)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

The 2008 Appaloosa film (starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen) is not related to this film, although it has a similar title.


Based on the 1963 book by Robert MacLeod,[2] the title character is a beautiful horse (a breed, the Appaloosa) belonging to Matt Fletcher (Marlon Brando), a Mexican-American buffalo hunter who returns home only to have his beloved horse stolen by a powerful bandit, Chuy Medina (John Saxon) with the help of the bandit's girlfriend, Trini (Anjanette Comer) in the border town of Ojo Prieto. Trini was sold to Chuy at the age of 15, but has been brutalized and effectively discarded.[3]

Matt begins to hunt down the bandit to recapture the horse, but finds matters more complicated than expected when he meets the girlfriend of the bandit. Fletcher is subjected to torture and humiliation by Chuy and his minions. A later foray into Medina's camp results in a brutal arm wrestling match in a bar between Fletcher and the bandito. Fletcher loses and is stung on the arm by a scorpion. Again left to die, Fletcher is rescued by Trini, who despises her "lover", Chuy, and prefers Fletcher's company. She gets him assistance from a kindly old peasant, which later costs the old man his life. During the violence-laden climax, Fletcher is forced to choose between Trini and his beloved Appaloosa. Matt, realizing that Trini means more to him than the horse, sends out the Appaloosa to draw Chuy's fire. As the bandit prepares to aim for the horse, sunlight glints on his gun barrel, revealing his position. Matt fires and kills him. Matt and Trini then cross the border with the Appaloosa to start a new life.[4]



The film was shot in shot in Wrightwood, Antelope Valley, and Lake Los Angeles, California, St. George, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona.[5] Parts of the film were also shot in Hurricane and at the Virgin River in Utah.[6]

See also


  1. "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
  2. "1963 book". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2008-12-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "The Appaloosa Filming Locations". IMDB.
  6. D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
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