Border River, Zona Libre is a small enclave across the river from America. Despotically ruled by General Calleja, it offers sanctuary to outlaws, at a price. Newly arrived is Clete Mattson who has $2million in gold to buy guns for the Confederacy. But who can he trust with so much money around? Certainly not Calleja, but maybe the eye-catching Carmelita? The General thinks she’s his property but she seems rather to fancy Mattson. Whatever’s going on, Mexico wants the place back.
Very Underrated Western
Border River, I was never the biggest Joel McCrea fan in westerns ( Ride The High Country excluded). Why? I always considered him “Gary Cooper lite” and as a Cooper fan it made sense. I just read where McCrea left Samuel Goldwyn after his contract ended. Why ? “I realized I will never get the best parts as long as Gary Cooper was there.” ( I guess I am not the only one who felt that way). As for the movie, it was better then I expected. It is about Clete Mattson ( McCrea) a Confederate soldier who along with his troops stole some northern gold from a bank and had to flee into Mexico.
The town is run by General Calleja ( Pedro Armandariz) a particularly nasty wanna be dictator, Border River. He had a very beautiful girlfriend named Carmelita Carias ( Yvonne de Carlo), who eventually falls for McCrea. Carmelita is not just a pretty love interest: She saves Cleve’s life three times ( very unusual). There is a lot of action and great stunts ( including McCrea getting a horse out of quicksand).
Border River, If you are looking for history, this is not it. Why? Spoilers ahead: Mattson is able after defeating Calleja to bring needed supplies from the stolen gold back to the South, and of course, he is bringing Carmelita home with him. Since this movie takes place in 1865 and the Civil War will be ending in April, the supplies will not help the south with the war effort ( but unsaid it can help with the rebuild), and he does have Carmelita. Again an underrated movie