The War Wagon is a 1967 Western film starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, released by Universal Pictures, directed by Burt Kennedy, produced by Marvin Schwartz and adapted byClair Huffaker from his own novel. The picture, which features Wayne in one of his few roles as technically a "bad guy" (i.e. acting outside the law), received generally positive reviews. The supporting cast includes Howard Keel, Robert Walker, Jr., Keenan Wynn, Joanna Barnes, and Bruce Dern.
Rancher Taw Jackson (John Wayne) returns to his hometown to settle a score. Three years earlier, he was framed by corrupt businessman Frank Pierce (Bruce Cabot) and wrongfully imprisoned. Pierce did this to confiscate Jackson's land, where he had discovered gold. After his prison sentence was cut short for good behavior, Jackson returns to steal a shipment of gold from Pierce. He hires Lomax (Kirk Douglas) to assist him, even though he had worked as a hired gun for Pierce and was instrumental in sending him to prison. Jackson needs Lomax not only because of his marksmanship, but also because he is a safe-cracker. The gold shipment is being transported in a "war wagon," a heavily armored stagecoach armed with a deadlyGatling gun in a top-mounted steerable turret. Jackson and Lomax assemble a gang and plan to rob the war wagon at the weakest point in the route it travels.
Things don't quite work out as planned. Pierce dies in a shootout with one of his own men trying to escape from the war wagon. The wagon crashes into a ravine, Lomax opens the safe, and the men move the gold into a separate wagon. Before they can haul it away, however, a group of Kiowas try to take it from them. During the ensuing gunfight, the horses are spooked and run away with the wagon, and most of the gold is lost as a result. Nevertheless, Taw manages to recover a portion of it, and they agree to meet in six months to divide it, since "it wouldn't be very smart to flash gold around after a robbery".
- John Wayne as Taw Jackson
- Kirk Douglas as Lomax
- Howard Keel as Levi Walking Bear
- Robert Walker, Jr. as Billy Hyatt
- Keenan Wynn as Wes Fletcher
- Bruce Cabot as Frank Pierce
- Joanna Barnes as Lola
- Valora Noland as Kate Fletcher
- Bruce Dern as Hammond
- Gene Evans as Deputy Hoag
- Terry Wilson as Sheriff Strike
- Don Collier as Shack
- Sheb Wooley as Snyder
- Ann McCrea as Felicia
- Emilio Fernández as Calita (as Emilio Fernandez)
- Frank McGrath as Bartender
- Chuck Roberson as Brown
- Boyd "Red" Morgan as Early (as Red Morgan)
- Hal Needham as Hite
- Marco Antonio as Chief Wild Horse
- Perla Walters as Rosita