Rio Conchos is a 1964 Cinemascope Western starring Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman, Tony Franciosa, Edmond O'Brien, and in his motion picture debut, Jim Brown, based on Clair Huffaker's novel "Guns of Rio Conchos" published in 1958.
Huffaker's novel is reminiscent of the John Wayne-starring films The Comancheros (for which Huffaker co-wrote the screenplay) and The Searchers. The main female role, played by Wende Wagner in a black wig, has no English dialogue. Rio Conchos was filmed in Moab, Utah, though the Conchos River and most of the action of the film takes place in Mexico.
Jerry Goldsmith's complete soundtrack was given a limited release on CD in January 2000 by Film Score Monthly that featured a tie-in title song by Johnny Desmond.
On June 21, 2011, Shout! Factory released the film on DVD as part of a double feature with Take a Hard Ride (1975).
An ex-Confederate Army officer (Richard Boone) named Jim Lassiter, who has been out for revenge against Apache Indians who massacred his family, recovers a stolen U.S. Army repeating rifle from some Apaches he has killed; as the Apache have proven formidable with lesser weaponry, there is cause for concern should they become equipped with such superior firepower.
The U.S. Army arrests him, then offers Lassiter his freedom if he leads a small, clandestine scouting unit into Mexico consisting of an Army captain (Stuart Whitman), a Buffalo Soldier sergeant (Jim Brown), a knife-wielding Mexican prisoner (Tony Franciosa), and later an Apache woman warrior (Wende Wagner).
After blasting their way through bandits and Apaches, they discover Colonel Pardee, another former rebel soldier (Edmond O'Brien), has set up a new Confederate headquarters, and is selling guns to the Apaches, including the ones who slaughtered Lassiter's family.
The woman, who is called Sally, saves his life, so Lassiter puts aside his hatred. He and Franklyn sacrifice themselves to save Sally and the Army captain Haven while holding off Pardee and his men.Richard Boone as Maj. James 'Jim' Lassiter
Stuart Whitman as Capt. Haven
Tony Franciosa as Juan Luis Rodriguez aka Juan Luis Martinez
Edmond O'Brien as Col. Theron 'Gray Fox' Pardee
Jim Brown as Sgt. Franklyn
Wende Wagner as Sally (Apache girl)
Warner Anderson as Col. Wagner
Rodolfo Acosta as Bloodshirt (Apache chief)
Barry Kelley as Croupier at Presidio
Vito Scotti as Bandit chief
House Peters, Jr. as Maj. Johnson
Kevin Hagen as Major Johnson aka Blondebeard
Robert Adler as Pardee Soldier (uncredited)
Timothy Carey as Chico (cantina owner) (uncredited)
Abel Fernandez as Mexican Guard (uncredited)
Mickey Simpson as Bartender who refuses to serve Franklyn (uncredited)
The posters used the same approach to billing as Warner Bros. had in 1948's Key Largo, for which Humphrey Bogart had been listed first but Edward G. Robinson was placed in the middle of the three above-the-title leads with his name elevated higher than the other two (the third name being Lauren Bacall's). In the case of Rio Conchos, Whitman was billed as Bogart had been, with Boone in Robinson's middle slot and Franciosa in Bacall's spot, with his name listed third going left to right and at the same height as Whitman's. Quite differently, however, Boone was billed before Whitman in the movie itself, with each name appearing onscreen one at a time.