Directed by Howard Hawks
Western / Action
John Wayne as Cole Thornton
Robert Mitchum as J. P. Harrah
James Caan as Mississippi (Alan Bourdillon Traherne)
Charlene Holt as Maudie
Arthur Hunnicutt as Bull Harris
Michele Carey as Joey Mac
Donald R. G. Armstrong as Kevin MacDonald
Edward Asner as Bart Jason
Paul Fix as Doc Miller
Christopher George as Nelse McLeod
Marina Ghane as Maria
Cole Thornton, a respected gunfighter, arrives in El Dorado to find his old friend J.P. Harrah is now the town sheriff. Thornton is offered a job by Bart Jason to run the MacDonald family off of their land. Not wanting to have anything to do with such a job, Thornton refuses, and then is ambushed by one of the MacDonald boys, Luke, who mistakenly thinks he has accepted Jason’s offer and is coming after his family. Cole shoots Luke on instinct. Luke believes he is done for and before Cole can get him help he shoots himself. Cole tries to take Luke’s body back to MacDonald ranch and is shot by Kevin’s sister Joey. The gunshot doesn’t kill Cole, but it does lodge near his spine. Six months later, near Mexico, Cole runs into a pair of gunslingers named McCloud and Mississippi who have accepted the job that Cole turned down. Cole returns to his friend Harrah to find the sherriff drunk at all times because of problems with women. Cole needs to get Harrah sober so they can fight off the impending attack by Bart Jason and his men.
Notes: El Dorado is the second in a trilogy of westerns all directed by Howard Hawks. The other films are Rio Bravo and Rio Lobo, both staring John Wayne.
The poem in the movie is called Eldorado by Edgar Allen Poe.