When things with Crow go awry (and another wonderful bit player in the film cashes in his paycheck and goes bye-bye), Regret winds up becoming Jake’s partner in his covert government operation (referring to him as “mon-sewer” all the way though — a joke that only gets funnier each time the deliberately mispronounced word is uttered). Upon making the acquaintance of The Comancheros, our heroes are captured, tortured, and then set free by the aforementioned mysterious woman. The woman, as it turns out, is actually the daughter of the compound’s terrorist-like leader (Nehemiah Persoff), who in-turn invites the men to join their little community — or be executed in some very inhospitable way, as is the custom of the awkward little society they have built up.
Will the boys (and girl) escape from the bad guys? Will their covers get blown? More importantly, will the Calvary (or, in this case, the other Texas Rangers) show up in time? Well, the fact that it’s a John Wayne film should give you some sort of inkling as to what kind of note the story ends on, eh?
Although it most assuredly paved the way for several subgenres of moving pictures to come, The Comancheros definitely has that “epic ‘60s American western” feel to it. It almost seems too big for its britches. Anyone who has even the most basic knowledge of 1840s America may grit their teeth over the movie’s many anachronisms (many of the clothing styles and weapons did not appear until several decades later). Additionally, those who have read Paul Wellman’s original novel of the same name might find themselves rolling their eyes over the fact that John Wayne and his larger-than-life character take center stage, whilst reducing the character of Paul Regret — who was the main protagonist in the original literary incarnation — to that of a secondary figure.
Nevertheless, all those bits and pieces accumulated from years of nitpicking from fans all over aside, it should never be said that The Comancheros doesn’t succeed in entertaining its audience. It’s a wonderful western/action/comedy film, directed by Casablanca’s Michael Curtiz and John Wayne himself (the latter of whom stepped in when the failing health of Curtiz — who passed away early the following year — prevented him from calling the shots). Wayne and Whitman’s chemistry is a marvelous mixture indeed; and the two tough guys give it their all here.