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The Undefeated
CinematographyWilliam H. Clothier

The Undefeated is a 1969 American Western film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and John Wayne (uncredited) and starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson.  The film portrays events surrounding the French Intervention in Mexico and is also loosely based on General J. O. Shelby's escape to Mexico after the Civil War and his attempt to join with Maximilian's forces.


In the closing days of the American Civil War, Union Colonel John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) and company  organize one final attack on a group of Confederate soldiers, only to be informed after bloodily defeating them that the war had ended days ago. Saddened and weary, Thomas and his men head out west towards home. Meanwhile, a band of Confederate soldiers led by Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson) feel the war has left them with no homes, and they prepare to stay organized as reinforcements to Emperor Maximilian, leader of the French invasion of Mexico. Langdon torches his plantation before he departs rather than seeing it fall into the hands of Northern carpetbaggers. At the same time, Thomas, with his adopted Indian son Blue Boy (Roman Gabriel) and his surviving command, brings a herd of 3,000 horses across the Rio Grande for sale in Durango, Mexico.

Halfway there, Blue Boy notices that the tracks of a group of bandits indicate that they are planning an ambush on a group of travelers. Blue Boy and Thomas go to warn the travelers, who turn out to be the Confederates. Despite their differences, the Americans repel a group of Mexican bandits who attack the Confederate wagon train, with Thomas' riders saving the day.

The two factions celebrate at a Fourth of July party and relive the war through a drunken brawl. They then split and go their separate ways. Meanwhile, Langdon's daughter and Blue Boy have fallen in love.

When Langdon's company finally reaches their destination, they find Emperor Maximilian's forces were chased out days earlier, replaced by ragged Mexican Republican forces under General Rojas (Antonio Aguilar). Viewing the new foreigners as potential enemies, the general holds the Southerners hostage in exchange for Thomas' horses. After defeating a roving band of French troops, Thomas orders the herd to stampede into the General's camp as ransom payment for their former enemies. As the crowd rides out of the camp to return to America, the people finally have common ground as they all listen to Yankee Doodle Dandy.


  • John Wayne as John Henry Thomas
  • Rock Hudson as James Langdon
  • Roman Gabriel as Blue Boy
  • Antonio Aguilar as Rojas
  • Lee Meriwether as Margaret Langdon
  • Melissa S. Newman as Charlotte Langdon
  • Marian McCargo as Ann Langdon
  • Merlin Olsen as Little George
  • Bruce Cabot as Jeff Newby
  • Jan-Michael Vincent as Bubba Wilkes
  • Richard Angarola as Petain
  • Ben Johnson as Shortgrub
  • Edward Faulkner as Capt. Anderson
  • Harry Carey, Jr. as Soloman Webster
  • Paul Fix as Joe Masters
  • Royal Dano as the one-armed Confederate major
  • Richard Mulligan as Dan Morse
  • John Agar as Christian
  • Dub Taylor as Mr. McCartney

Merlin Olsen plays the blacksmith Little George. Both Gabriel and Olsen were pro-football all-stars for the Los Angeles Rams. Olsen continued his acting and sports announcing after his gridiron days were over.[3]



DVD Cover

The stunt co-ordinator was Hal Needham, later a film director.


The film earned $4.5 million in rentals in North America.[4]

See also[]

  • List of American films of 1969
  • John Wayne filmography


  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p255
  2. "The Undefeated, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  3. The New York Times Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
  • O'Flaherty, Daniel C. General Jo Shelby: Undefeated Rebel, University of North Carolina Press, 1954; ISBN 0-8078-4878-6; republished, 2000.

External links[]

  • Template:TCMDb title

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