GOLD OF THE SEVEN SAINTS. Warner Brothers, 1961. Clint Walker, Roger Moore, Letícia Román, Robert Middleton, Chill Wills, Gene Evans. Based on the novel Desert Guns by Steve Frazee; co-screenwriter: Leigh Brackett. Director: Gordon Douglas.


   Desert Guns was a paperback original (Dell First Edition A135, 1957) which I own and which I really ought to read. For now, this movie that’s based upon it will have to do. Any resemblance between film and book, however, may be (as usual) coincidental.

   But however strong their relationship is in the book, Clint Walker and Roger Moore certainly make a good pair of friends in the movie, a small western epic of an adventure filmed (unfortunately) in black-and-white. Walker plays Jim Rainbolt, the senior of the two fur-trapping partners, while Moore is Shaun Garrett, his protege, so to speak, a young Irish cowboy who’s a bit wet behind the ears, and has a propensity to neither stop talking or (believe it or not) singing throughout the film.

   One reviewer on IMDB claims their relationship borders on the homoerotic, but I don’t know. I guess you have to be looking for subtexts such as this, but if you’re interested in following him up on his claim, you can go read his long post for yourself.


   Which not to say that you cannot find one or the other bare-chested in this film, and at least one of the photos that I’ve found to show you will back me up on this. The two of them make a good team, Clint Walker doing the TV show Cheyenne (1955-1962) at the same time as this movie, and Roger Moore just finishing a run as Beauregarde Maverick on that other Warner Brothers TV western series, but not yet known as The Saint.


   What gets them into trouble in Gold of the Seven Saints is not their fur-trapping activities, but the 250 pounds of gold they’ve come across while doing so. This is a lot of weight to carry around, of course, and while trying to steal a horse while passing by a small town on their way to Seven Saints (the town where they’re headed), Shaun is cornered and buys his way out of trouble (and gains the horse) with a small nugget he’s carrying with him to clinch the deal.


   Which is not a good idea. Almost immediately the two of them are on the run with a gang of thieves on their trail. Gene Evans is McCracken, the villainous leader of the bunch, and hardly anybody played a meaner, tougher western villain than Gene Evans. Chill Wills plays a doctor with an equally villainous thirst for whiskey, and Robert Middleton is a perhaps overly friendly Mexican bandit named Gondora. Both come to the two men’s rescue, or so they say.

   There is only one female role of any consequence in this movie, and that’s Tita (Letícia Román), apparently Gondora’s “ward.” (I did not catch the full details, but Gondora is willing to sell her to the one of the pair who makes the higher offer.)


   Once again it is a pity that a wide screen movie filmed with such spectacular scenery in the background was not done in color. The plot itself is fairly straight-forward. You’ll watch this for the players, all of whom seem to be having a good time.

   As a quick PostScript, I’m probably not the only one who has wondered why Clint Walker did not have a more successful movie career than he did. Perhaps it was just a matter of being typecast as a Western player, and unlike Clint Eastwood, say, he never quite found the role that shifted gears for him.