The Train Robbers

The Train Robbers is a 1973 Western Technicolor film written and directed by Burt Kennedy and starring John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson and Ricardo Montalban. Filming took place in Sierra de Órganos National Park in the town of Sombrerete, Mexico.

The Train Robbers
Theatrical poster
Directed byBurt Kennedy
Produced byMichael Wayne
Written byBurt Kennedy
Music byDominic Frontiere
CinematographyWilliam H. Clothier
Edited byFrank Santillo
Distributed byWarner Bros. (US)
Release date
  • February 7, 1973 (1973-02-07)[1]
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.6 million (US)[2]
354,121 admissions (France)[3]


After the death of her husband, Mrs. Lowe (Ann-Margret) wants to tell the railroad where to find the half million U.S. dollars in gold her late husband, Matt, stole during a train robbery, and clear the family name for her son. Instead Lane (John Wayne) convinces her to retrieve the gold so she can collect the $50,000 reward offered by the railroad for its return. Lane lines up some old friends to assist him in retrieving the gold for a share of the reward. But the other original train robbers have gathered a gang and will try to get the gold at any cost. As they all journey into Mexico in search of the hidden gold they are followed closely by a Pinkerton agent (Ricardo Montalban).

After a series of adventures & battles they return to Texas with the gold where there is one final battle. The next day Lane and his men put Mrs. Lowe on a train to return the gold and tell her she can keep the reward for herself and her son. As they are walking past the end of the train they meet the Pinkerton Agent who tells them, as the train is pulling out, that Matt Lowe was never married and that Mrs. Lowe is really a prostitute named Lilly who fooled them into helping her get the gold for herself. Lane then leads his gang to rob the train as the film ends.



Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four and called it "fairly good, in a quiet and workmanlike sort of way, although there's a plot twist at the end that ruins things unnecessarily. But what’s best about it, what makes it worth seeing, is Kennedy’s visual approach to the subject of John Wayne."[4] Roger Greenspun of The New York Times wrote, "I don't think that tone and attitude are quite enough to sustain a movie, or that an air of good feeling can take the place of meaningful dramatic action. But as an exercise in pleasantness, 'The Train Robbers' is an interesting addition to the late history of the traditional unpretentious Western."[5] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety called it "an above-average John Wayne actioner, written and directed by Burt Kennedy with suspense, comedy and humanism not usually found in the formula."[6] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film three stars out of four and declared the John Wayne's "legend not only lives in 'The Train Robbers,' it gleams."[7] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "In the light of the current — and largely admirable — cycle of revisionist westerns that lay waste to those cherished myths of the frontier, it's downright reassuring to watch an amiable, traditional-style John Wayne adventure ... There's a neat balance between action and comedy, and Wayne himself is in top form."[8]

The film currently holds a score of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 6 reviews.[9]

See also


  1. "The Train Robbers - Details". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  2. Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media 2010 p 172.
  3. 1973 French box office at Box Office Story
  4. Ebert, Roger (February 22, 1973). "The Train Robbers". Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  5. Greenspun, Roger (February 8, 1973). "Screen: 'Train Robbers'". The New York Times. 36.
  6. Murphy, Arthur D. (January 31, 1973). "Film Reviews: The Train Robbers". Variety. 18.
  7. Siskel, Gene (February 22, 1973). "John Wayne at his mythical best". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 6.
  8. Thomas, Kevin (February 7, 1973). "Wayne as Wayne in 'Train'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 10.
  9. "The Train Robbers". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
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