El tesoro de Pancho Villa (The Treasure of Pancho Villa) (1935)




Director:     Arcady Boytler.

Starring:    Antonio R. Frausto (Chema), Victoria Blanco (Mary Smith), Raúl de Anda (Arturo Montemayor), Carlos L. Cabello (Jeff), Guillermo Calles (Manuel), A.M. Williams (Fred Smith), Arturo Manrique (Joe), Jorge Treviño (Bill), Juan F. Triana (Pancho Villa), Carlos López (Delgado), Manuel Noriega (Pedro), Lucha Reyes.

Villa's hidden treasure leads to a great struggle over who will get the treasure 

No English options. No subtitles. 



Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

A woman walks on a battlefield looking at the dead bodies. A dog paws at the dead boy of his master. A colonel holds a man that is in battle shock. The man tells the colonel that he should leave this place, but the colonel stays with the man. The colonel says that their general has hidden the treasure.

The man has flashbacks to the battle. He sees the machine guns mowing down his buddies. The colonel tells the man to calm down. The fellow tells the colonel again to leave. The man then collapses, either passed out or dead.

The survivors of the battle have set up an encampment. At night the men play guitars and sing. They sing a song about Pancho Villa and his soldiers.

The colonel speaks to Pancho Villa and tells him that he will take care of everything for him. He steps outside to tell a soldier to get Rafael and prepared the mules for the general. The soldiers tells the colonel motion that Rafael lays at his feet. The man is dying.

The colonel walks back in the room to talk with Pancho Villa. He tells a bit of a white lie saying that everything is ready. He says Jose, Rafael, Manuel and Jesus will go with them, but Pedro has to stay because he has been wounded severely.

The colonel sneaks over to the men and listens in to their conversation, but he can't really hear what they are saying. He is a bit fearful that the men may try to take the money for themselves.

Pancho Villa comes out and hears the moan of poor Pedro who is suffering. Villa pulls out his pistol and shoots Pedro.

The colonel sneaks up to a man asleep with the many others. He takes out the man's pistol from its holster, removes the bullets and then placed the pistol back in its holster. He repeats this process on two other men. He then tries to do the same to the ring leader, but he awakens and the colonel has to sneak away from the sleeping men.

In the morning the little caravan rides out. Big boxes are tied onto the two mules, while the men stay on their horses. The colonel and the general ride behind the four soldiers. When they reach a cave, the men carrying the boxes inside to hide them. Five men have to help with the boxes.

Now the soldiers begin digging two large holes in which to put the boxes. The colonel watches the men closely. As the men start to cover up the holes and the boxes, the colonel senses that the man are going to try to over power him.

The ringleader signal to the others to kill the colonel. The three soldiers start to fire their weapons, but they just hear click, click. Now the ringleader pulls out his gun, but the colonel shoots him first because he knows his weapon is loaded. Then the colonel kills the other three soldiers.

The colonel comes out of the cave to speak with Villa, but Villa shoots him down. Villa now rides away from the men and the cave.

The colonel survives the wound, but is very weak. He leans onto the neck of his horse to help him stay on for the ride. He rides over the border into the United States. There he falls off his horse from exhaustion and pain.

A pretty American woman, Mary Smith, rides up to the colonel and tells her two ranch hands to take care of this man. They start picking him up and she tells them to take the fellow to the ranch.

On a bed in the house, the colonel dreams about Villa shooting him down. He shouts out for Villa not to fire on him. Give him a chance to explain what happened.

The colonel is loving to be taken care of by Mary. Out of her cowgirl duds, she even looks prettier. She tells him he has to stay down for two more days of rest. He asks Mary how he can ever repay her? Patting his right hand, she says it was nothing.

The colonel now goes to the office of Mary's father, Fred Smith. He asks the man if he could speak with him? Yes. The colonel thanks the man for what he did for him. Fred asks the colonel about what he is going to do now? Return to Mexico. Fred asks him to stay on at the ranch and work for the Smiths. After all, he needs people. The colonel thanks him. The boss tells him to go see Jeff.

Mary is very happy to hear that the colonel will be staying with them. Jeff, however, warns him that he is here to work, not to visit with Mary.

Some months later Jeff sees the colonel talking with Mary again. He doesn't like it.

The colonel uses the car and gets The New York Times for Mary. The big headline is Villa Assassinated! Since the colonel doesn't know English, he asks what does the paper say about Villa? He is shocked when her hears Mary say that Villa was assassinated. On July 20, 1923 in the town of Parral Villa was assassinated when some men ambushed his car, shooting it over forty times with Villa and his bodyguards inside. The colonel is shocked and upset at the news, but he does not say he rode with Villa.

Jeff yells at the colonel telling him he has to get back to work. The colonel ignores him and goes to see the boss. He asks Fred if he can see the newspaper and Fred shows him an article on the assassination of Villa. With the article is a picture of Villa's dead body draped over the front passenger door. His arms and head are extended down from the car.

The colonel asks Fred where is the hacienda of Montemayor? Fred asks the colonel if he has gone loco? No. Where is the hacienda? It's in the Mexican the border state of Sonora, which lies between the Gulf of California on its west and Chihuahua on its east. The colonel whispers in Fred's ear what he is up to. Unfortunately, Jeff has been eavesdropping on the conversation. He gets a big grin on his face when he hears the plans. Fred shakes hands with the colonel and says he will let the colonel go back to Sonora.

In Sonora Arturo Montemayor wears a fancy Mexican outfit complete with the huge sombrero. He calls out for his ranch hand Delgado. At this time Delgado is serenading of women ranch hand and he's drunk. Delgado puts his guitar down and comes around a haystack so his boss can see him.

Arturo asks Delgado where has he been hiding? Delgado says he was working. The boss just learned that there is a telegram for him in town. He wants Delgado to get it for him.

The Smiths and the ranch hands are going somewhere on their horses, probably to Sonora. The colonel rides by Mary's side.

The crew reach the Montemayor hacienda. Arturo and Fred have known each other for a long time and the two men shake hands. Fred reintroduces Mary to Arturo. He seems impressed by her beauty.

Arturo has everyone stay on his ranch. In the evening they listen to the singing of the vaqueros (Mexican cowboys).

Mary sits down on a bench and Arturo sits down with her. She says she didn't know that Mexican songs were so full of passion. Arturo does a bit of flirting wit her. Now two ranch hands from the USA sing an American cowboy song. When they finish, someone says that music is only good enough for the cows. This starts a fight between one of the singers and the music critic. The critic is a huge man and he throws the fellow from the USA out of a ranch room by the seat of his pants.

The next day Mary goes out riding with the colonel. When they are all alone, they get off the horses and walk for awhile. Mary tells the colonel that they are very good friends. This discourages the colonel and he hangs his head down. He wants to be more than friends with Mary.

Mary and the colonel return from their ride. Mary, her father and Arturo start walking on a tour of the ranch buildings. Jeff comes over to the colonel to tell him that Mary is his intended and he doesn't want the colonel going out with her. Jeff calls the colonel a dirty, stinking coyote. The colonel knocks Jeff to the ground. Jeff goes for his pistol, but the colonel is a bit faster on the draw. So Jeff reholsters his gun.

Jeff gets up and charges the colonel. The colonel is physically bigger than Jeff and has not trouble fighting. Jeff calls the colonel another nasty name and the colonel knocks him over a fence by a big hay stack. Jeff lands on two of his cowhands who were sleeping in the hay. He now balls the ranch hands out, but leaves the colonel alone.

Mary and Arturo go for a ride. They look like they are more than just friends. Arturo tells her that he has to go away on business for three days. They kiss.

Fred and the colonel talk about their plans. And, once again, that pesky Jeff is listening in on their conversation. Fred says that they have to carefully pick the men who will help them get the treasure.

Mary and Arturo return to the ranch buildings area. She tells her father that she is very happy. All three of them seem happy. Again the colonel drops his head low in despair about his meager chances with Mary. Mary sees him with his head low and seems upset that the colonel is so sad.

Mary goes to talk with the colonel. She tells him that she is sorry, but she is so happy now. He puts on a brave face and tells her not to worry for if she is happy, then so is he. He walks away, but with his head still hanging low.

Now Jeff tells the ranch hands that they can get their hands on a lot of money with very little work. Unfortunately for Jeff, one of the Mexican ranch hands, Perico, overhears what Jeff is saying. The fellow runs over and talks with Delgado. He tells Delgado that he has something very important to tell the boss. Delgado tells him that the boss has left and will be back in three days.

Perico jumps on a horse and goes after the boss. Fred and the colonel get on their horses and, accompanied by Jeff and the two singing cowboys and two mules, they head out to get the treasure.

The other cowboys get on their horse and follow the treasure hunters. Perico catches up with the boss. Perico tells him about the treasure of Pancho Villa. Arturo asks Perico if he's loco? Perico explains the situation some more. Now the men take off to catch up with the treasure pursuers.

Arturo and Perico arrive back at the ranch. The boss tells Delgado to have the men saddle up and follow him. The ranch hands get on their horses and follows the boss. Mary eavesdropped on the conversations and now she saddles up to follow Arturo and his men.

The American cowboys watch as the treasure hunters go right past them at a distance. They have not even reached the cave yet. The cowboys have set an ambush for the caravan. They open fire on the hunters. When they find they are not doing too well against the hunters, on foot they walk toward Fred and the colonel. One of the cowhands is shot down. From behind Jeff shoots Mr. Smith.

Jeff and three cowboys rush the colonel and he starts fighting them off with his fists. Arturo and his men arrive and the bad guys start running. The three cowboys are caught, but not Jeff.

Mary arrives and rushes over to see her father.

Jeff reaches his horse and starts riding away A vaquero shoots at him, but doesn't hit Jeff. He runs over to tell Arturo. Arturo and the colonel get on their horses and go after Jeff. Jeff shoots and wounds the colonel, who falls off his horse.

Arturo stops for the colonel. Jeff tries to sneak up on them, but Arturo sees Jeff coming. The two men trade shots and Jeff is hit. He falls off a cliff. The colonel dies.

Back at the ranch Arturo and Mary hold each other while they swing on an outdoor set of a swinging couch. The wounded Fred walks over to them. Mary rushes over to hug her father. He smiles broadly and then leaves. Mary return to Arturo. They stand next to the swing and drop more of the cloth roof down so they can kiss in private.

Spoiler Warning. So in the end no one gets Pancho Villa's treasure. A lot of men were shot dead or wounded trying to get the treasure. All their efforts were in vain. The joke was on all the selfish, greedy men for all their troubles came to naught.

Hey, they have a good love story going with the colonel and Mary Smith, but as soon as Mary meets a wealthy Mexican rancher, she falls for him almost immediately. (I feel a bit cheated by Mary and the writers.) And then they kill off the colonel.

I was disappointed that Pancho Villa did not play much of a part in the film. You have to know at least something about the Mexican Revolution really to appreciate what is going on.

The acting was okay, nothing special.

I enjoyed watching the film. There are definitely some turns and twists in the film.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



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