first, a disclaimer:
i like a lot of old movies in general and think that Lancaster has done some excellent work. it's part of the reason why i watched this movie when it popped up. which makes this movie that much more disappointing. i'm not sure how much the movie script varies from the original book but if it is faithful plotwise then this is prime evidence that Elmore Leonard is also pretty cucked. which is even more aggravating.
the major point about this movie that raised my hackles was the resolution scene:
without knowing anything else about the plot, this scene is clearly constructed for the explicit purpose of the humiliating the primary White Male character in the film.
it gets much worse when the plot is viewed in it's totality.
EVERY White character in this film, without exception, is a piece of shit.
Frank Tanner, the primary antagonist, opens the movie getting a black man killed due to a false accusation of murder and desertion and closes the film with that act of cowardice and rejection by the woman as seen above. personal guilt and public embarrassment over his so obviously having desired his best friend's wife is his motivation for absurdly over-pursuing whomever he suspects of being the miscreant who murdered his friend.
Gay Erin, the widow who is fucking around with her husband's best friend a mere month (?) after his murder is the linchpin of the whole plot. you see, the accusation that a Black man had murdered her husband is a bald faced lie, which she concocted in order to conceal the fact that she had murdered her husband herself. being a cucked movie, she is of course completely forgiven for, at best, a second degree murder.
Gay Erin's deceased husband, never seen on screen, is accused by both Frank and Gay of having beaten her. okay, so he's an abusive asshole. the fact remains that she could have, you know, divorced him even back then. the fact that she has no injuries whatsoever demonstrates that whatever he was supposed to be doing was clearly not debilitating or life threatening. given the short time frame of the movie since his murder and Gay's complete lack of visible bruises it seems unlikely that there could have been much force involved at all.
RL Davis is the quasi-homicidal, cowardly young idiot. he is the catalyst for forcing Valdez to kill Rincon, the Black man. he is the only White character permitted one small saving grace though, he frees Valdez from the cross.
the town fathers first allow Frank Tanner to run amuck pursuing the falsely accused Black, then deflect all responsibility for his death onto Valdez himself and refuse to show any mercy to the pregnant Apache widow who was left behind. they're Bourgeois, you see.
the White Sheriff is a wholly owned apparatchik of Tanner's gun running operation.
every 'good' character in this movie ( apart from Gay Erin, who is forgiven the crime of murder because White woman vagina ) is a person of color.
Valdez is the avenging angel who, though long suffering at the beginning, turns into the Terminator at the end of the movie.
El Segundo begins the movie simply as a henchman of Tanner but, due to his personal integrity and honor, turns his coat at the end of the film and aligns with his fellow Proletarians against "The Man".
Diego is the faithful sidekick even through great personal pain and sacrifice.
the Black dude had been honorably discharged from the military and died simply due to a false accusation.
the pregnant Apache wife is given a scene in which she stoically endures getting shot at without flinching.
so, as one can see, this film fully adheres to the perspective of the Communist Manifesto.
apart from that, this is a moderately interesting film. the last escape scene is quite different, first Valdez is positioned between two horses in a kind of Superman flying pose, then, after Segundo shoots the near side horse and Valdez transitions up to a normal mount Segundo shoots the second mount. as Valdez crashes it falls across the course of Gay's horse causing her to go down.
it's kind of shocking to remember that Hollywood movies used to be made without much concern for the well being of the animals. i'd be shocked if at least one of those horses didn't get put down.
irony: the three primary Hispanic roles in this film ( Bob Valdez, El Segundo and Diego ) are all played by White ( Burt Lancaster and Barton Heyman(?) ) or Jewish ( Frank Silvera ) men in Beanerface. fucking lol.