The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  • Directors: John Huston
  • Producers: Henry Blanke
  • Writers: B Traven, John Huston
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western, Action
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

This is the context in which the three gringos band together in a small Mexican town and set out to strike it rich in the remote Sierra Madre mountains. They ride a train into the hinterlands, surviving a bandit attack en route. Once out in the desert, Howard, the old-timer of the group, quickly proves to be by far the toughest and most knowledgeable; he is the one to discover the gold they are seeking. A mine is dug, and much gold is extracted. Greed soon sets in and Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) begins to lose both his trust and his sanity, lusting to possess the entire treasure. Dobbs is also paranoid that he will be killed by his partners. At this time a fourth American shows up, which sets up a moral debate about what to do with the new stranger. The bandits then reappear, pretending, very crudely, to be Federales, which leads to the now-iconic line about not needing to show any “stinking badges”. After a gunfight, and the fouth American is killed, a real troop of Federales appear and drive the bandits away.

But when Howard is called away to assist some local villagers, Dobbs and third partner Curtin have a final confrontation, which Dobbs wins, leaving Curtin lying shot and presumed dead. However, Curtin crawls to safety. Later, Dobbs is murdered (via decapitation) by some surviving bandits, who, in their ignorance, scatter the gold to the winds. Curtin is discovered and taken to Howard’s village, where he recovers. He and Howard miss witnessing the bandits’ execution by Federales by only a few minutes as they arrive back in town, and learn that the gold is gone. While checking the areas that the bandits dropped the gold, Howard realizes that the winds must have carried the gold away. They accept the loss with equanimity, and then part ways, Howard returning to his village, and Curtin returning home to America.

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