There are some movies that exist for no reason other than to entertain, and there’s nothing wrong with that. “Gold Of The Seven Saints” falls squarely in that category.

Shot on what was obviously a miniscule budget, this Warner Brothers Western from 1961 makes great use of its Monument Valley locations and two very likeable stars in Roger Moore and Clint Walker, who were then best known for their roles in the television Western serials “Maverick” and “Cheyenne”.

Moore and Walker portray two rogues – fur trappers Shaun Garrett and Jim Rainbolt who have hit pay dirt by finding a small fortune in gold nuggets and are headed across the desert for the town of Seven Saints. Things go wrong when their pack horse dies and Garrett is caught while trying to steal another horse in a small town.

Garrett gets away by paying with a gold nugget, but this tips off McCracken (Gene Evans) and his gang of outlaws, who decide to follow our heroes across the desert with the intention of bushwhacking them and making off with the gold. Rainbolt hides the gold under some boulders but the duo is surrounded by the outlaws.

Clint Walker, Chill Wills and Roger Moore in "Gold Of The Seven Saints"

Rainbolt and Garrett get a helping hand in the ensuing shootout from the brandy swilling Doc Gates (Chill Wills) but he too has his eye on the gold. After breaking away from the outlaws, the men run into Gondora (Robert Middleton), a Mexican warlord who is an old friend of Rainbolt.

They take up Gondora’s offer to rest at his hacienda so that Garrett can recover from a gunshot wound. But McCracken soon catches up and kidnaps Garrett and Doc Gates. Rainbolt sets off to find his friend, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with McCracken and his men.

The script, by Leonard Freeman and Leigh Brackett, is a fine example of what a couple of good writers can do with very little material. The focus is squarely on the friendship between Rainbolt and Garrett and their interaction with the characters who want their gold, from the nasty McCracken to the ambiguous Gondora.

Clint Walker and Gene Evans in "Gold Of The Seven Saints"

Of course, a lot of the credit for this movie being so watchable must go to the journeyman-like direction of Gordon Douglas, who was equally at home helming sci-fi movies (Them!), action comedies (In Like Flint) and gritty detective films (Tony Rome). “Gold Of The Seven Saints” was the third in a series of Westerns Douglas made with Clint Walker and a quick glance through The New York Times archive of film reviews reveals that this Western opened at the same time as “The Sins Of Rachel Cade”, a drama also directed by Douglas. One hard-working man!

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