Valdez Is Coming

Before Elmore Leonard's more contemporary characters like Stick, Raylan, and Chili Palmer ever toughed their way through town, he'd already created a corral's worth of Western heroes the likes of Pat Brennan from The Tall T and Ben Wade from 3:10 to Yuma. Valdez is Coming ropes Burt Lancaster into the part of Bob Valdez, a conscientious constable who watches over “the Mexican American side of town.” When a black deserter is mistakenly killed, Valdez wants trigger-happy Frank Tanner (Jon Cypher), a local rancid rancher, to cough up a hundred bucks for the dead man's widow. After Tanner's men literally crucify him, Valdez, a man of few words but many convictions, sets out to get that C-note at any cost. This is a generational oater as an old Indian fighter gets the better of some young guns for hire. (The next year Robert Aldrich would make an unintentional sequel with Lancaster as a seasoned Army scout in Ulzana's Raid.) “I should have killed you three days ago,” says the cowering ringleader. “Or paid the hundred bucks,” replies the buckskin bill collector.

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