- Directors: John Sturges
- Producers: John Sturges
- Writers: William Roberts, Walter Newman, Walter Bernstein
- Genres: Western, Adventure, Drama
- Actors: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz, Brad Dexter
A Mexican village is periodically raided by bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach). As he and his men ride away from their latest visit, Calvera promises to return.
Desperate, the village leaders travel to a border town to buy guns to defend themselves. They approach a veteran gunslinger, Chris (Yul Brynner). He tells them guns alone will not do them any good; they are farmers, not fighters. They ask him to lead them, but Chris rejects them, telling them a single man is not enough. They keep at him though, and he eventually gives in. He recruits men, though the pay is a pittance.
First to answer the call is the hotheaded, inexperienced Chico (Horst Buchholz), but he is rejected. Harry Luck (Brad Dexter), an old friend of Chris, joins because he believes Chris is looking for treasure. Vin (Steve McQueen) signs on after going broke from gambling. Other recruits include Bernardo O’Reilly (Charles Bronson) (who is also broke), Britt (James Coburn), fast and deadly with his switchblade, and Lee (Robert Vaughn), who is on the run and needs someplace to lie low until things cool down. Chico trails the group as they ride south, and is eventually allowed to join them.
As the three survivors leave, Chico decides to stay with Petra. Chris and Vin ride away, pausing briefly at the graves of their fallen comrades. Chris observes, “Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.”