Sure, the great Howard Hawks' final film falls short of his finest work. It can't touch the likes of The Big Sleep or His Girl Friday and, as a John Wayne-starring Western co-scripted with Leigh Brackett, it's a weaker take on similar themes in the director's classic, elegiac El Dorado and taut, claustrophobic Rio Bravo.
But still, it's no slouch. Wayne carries the acting can as a Union captain who teams up with two captured Confederates to track down a man responsible for stealing a gold shipment. It's essentially a Hawksian character study, albeit one bookended by a train robbery and a shoot-out, the director tracing the bonding of disparate individuals through responsibility and respect. Typical of the output in his twilight years, it has a pleasing, insouciant attitude to pace, preferring laidback humour and relaxed rhythms to all-out narrative drive.