''For the Creator/{{Gottlieb}} pinball machine, [[Pinball/ElDorado click here.]]''

->''"And as his strength''\\
''Failed him at length,''\\
''He met a pilgrim shadow--''\\
'' 'Shadow,' said he''\\
'''Where can it be--''\\
''This land of Eldorado?'"''
-->--''Eldorado'' by Creator/EdgarAllanPoe.

''El Dorado'' is a classic 1966 [[TheWestern Western]] movie directed by Creator/HowardHawks, written by Creator/LeighBrackett based on the novel ''The Stars in Their Courses'' by Harry Brown, starring Creator/JohnWayne, Creator/RobertMitchum, and Creator/JamesCaan.

Famed gunfighter Cole Thornton (Wayne) comes to the small Texan town of El Dorado, hired by carpetbagger [[CattleBaron cattle baron]] Bart Jason (Ed Asner), and stays at the hotel owned by Maudie (Charlene Holt). The town's sheriff, J.P. Harrah (Mitchum), is an old friend of Thornton and warns him off: Jason wants to start a war with his neighbors, the [=MacDonald=] family, over water rights, and the [=MacDonalds=] are the rightful owners. Taking the hint, Thornton rides out to Bart Jason's farm and tells him the deal is off because he does not want to go up against Harrah. In the meantime the [=MacDonalds=] have heard about Jason's intentions, and as Thornton passes their territory, he is shot at by one of the sons, Luke [=MacDonald=]. Cole Thornton shoots back in self-defense, hitting Luke [=MacDonald=] in the stomach; the pain is too much for the boy, who commits suicide with a revolver Thornton overlooked. He brings the body to the [=MacDonald=] homestead and tells the family what happened, but Luke's tomboyish sister Joey (Michele Carey) will have none of it and shortly afterwards bushwhacks him as he rides back to El Dorado. Thornton survives and overpowers Joey [=MacDonald=], but it is discovered that her bullet is lodged against his spine and the local doctor is not good enough to extract it without risking his death or paralysis. So after he is healed enough to ride, he leaves town and his friends J.P. and Maudie, promising to return when he can face the [=MacDonalds=] again.

A few months later, Cole Thornton reappears in a small town on the Mexican border. In a local cantina he witnesses a young man, Mississippi (James Caan), approaching a group of tough guys and challenging one of them. The man is the last of four men who had killed an old gambler, his surrogate father, and Mississippi wants revenge. The man's boss, gunslinger Nelse [=McLeod=] (Christopher George), is intrigued and watches, because Mississippi does not carry a gun. In a duel across the table, Mississippi manages to kill his opponent with a thrown knife before he can shoot. Thornton then saves Mississippi's life by shooting the gun out of the hand of another of [=MacLeod's=] men who now wants to avenge his late comrade. Impressed by his quick draw, [=MacLeod=] offers Thornton the dead man's place in his outfit for his next job -- a range war in El Dorado. It should not be too difficult, he says, the only person who could interfere is the local sheriff, and he now is too drunk to shoot straight. Thornton politely refuses.

Grateful towards his lifesaver, Mississippi follows Thornton who the next morning sets off to El Dorado to aid his friend and because of his blood debt towards the [=MacDonalds=]. He witnesses Thornton falling off his horse as the moving bullet partially and temporarily paralyses him, and offers his help. Since Mississippi is a completely useless shot, Thornton at first refuses, then sees to it that he buys a sawn-off shotgun. The two make it to El Dorado ahead of [=McLeod's=] group; Maudie tells them that J.P. came to his sorry state after falling for a bad woman passing through town. With the help of Mississippi's hangover recipe they manage to sober J.P. up somewhat, but they still have to face [=McLeod's=] and Bart Jason's men heavily outnumbered: a gunslinger in constant danger of being laid low by the bullet nudging his spine, a recovering drunk sheriff, a useless shot, and crusty deputy Bull Harris (Arthur Hunnicutt)...

Some film buffs see ''El Dorado'' as a somewhat inferior remake of ''Film/RioBravo'', frequently blaming Arthur Hunnicutt for not being Walter Brennan, but the film is very watchable and quite enjoyable on its own.
!!This film provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: Josephine "Joey" [=MacDonald=] wounds Cole at the beginning and [[spoiler: kills Bart Jason at the end.]]
* AffablyEvil
--> '''Nelse [=McLeod=]''': ''Call it... professional courtesy.''
* AfterActionPatchUp: After J.P. gets shot in the leg, he's tended to by the new town surgeon, Dr. Donovan who also examines the bullet pressing against Cole's spine.
* AlasPoorVillain: [[spoiler: [=McLeod=] goes out giving Cole his regards, and Cole himself can't help feeling sad at having to kill him. Helps that Nelse has been a NobleDemon from the beginning.]]
* TheAlcoholic: J.P. Harrah, when he is re-introduced.
* ArtisticTitle
* AwkwardlyPlacedBathtub: J.P. Harrah is forced to take a bath in the middle of the sheriff's office because there are hired guns in town waiting to kill him, and because he needs to keep watch on a prisoner the gunmen are after.
* BrickJoke: About halfway through, J.P., Cole, and Mississippi follow a man into Jason's saloon. J.P., upon noticing how nervous the piano player is, shoots the piano and the man hiding behind it. Much later, J.P. comments how bad the piano player is. Bull has to remind him it's because J.P. shot the piano.
* CattleBaron: Bart Jason.
* CombatPragmatist: Cole Thornton.
** Acknowledged by Nelse [=McLeod=] [[spoiler:at the end after Cole surprises him while rescuing Saul [=MacDonald=]. Once Bull signals, Cole uses the ruckus to shoot [=McLeod=] with a hidden rifle before falling off the wagon and engaging the other gunslingers.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Just about everybody, at one time or another.
* [[DeterminedHomesteader Determined Homesteaders]]: The [=MacDonalds=].
* EvenEvilHasStandards: [=McLeod=] makes it a point to rebuke the {{Mook}} who helped murder Mississipi's friend. "It ''really'' shouldn't have taken four of you...."
* FakeShemp: Most of the scenes showing Creator/JohnWayne running were performed by a double.
* Fanservice: Charlene Holt as Maudie, and more specifically Maudie in corset and stockings.
* {{Fauxreigner}}: Mississippi doing a horrid impression of a ChineseLaunderer to sneak up on a thug.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Swede tells Mississippi a story about a gunfighter who had [[BlindWithoutEm lousy eyesight]] who tended to shoot in the general direction of where he heard the other guy coming from. [[AccidentalMurder He shot a particularly noisy piano player.]] When J.P. Harrah and his posse go into a bar looking for a wounded gunman they were tracking, the trail of blood leads behind a piano being played by a ''very'' nervous and off-key piano player.
* GenreBlind: Mississippi though he does learn quickly
* GoodScarsEvilScars: [=McLeod=] has a scar over his left eye.
* TheGunfighterWannabe: Mississippi.
* TheGunslinger: Cole Thornton and Nelse [=McLeod=].
* HandicappedBadass: Cole Thornton. Joey puts a bullet in his back in revenge for Cole killing her brother. It only bothers him sometimes, but when it bothers him, it bothers him ''hard''.
** Nelse [=McLeod=] has a big scar on his face and is blind in one eye.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Cole and J.P.
* HideousHangoverCure: It includes ''gunpowder''.
* TheHilarityOfHats: There is a RunningGag concerning the other characters' opinions of Mississippi's choice of headwear:
-->'''Bull Harris:''' ...might have anyhow if I wasn't tryin' to figure out what that fella's got on his head.\\
'''Mississippi:''' It's called a hat.\\
'''Bull Harris:''' Well, I'll have to take your word for it.
* HollywoodDarkness: The only way Jason's mook could have been deceived for a second by Mississippi's PaperThinDisguise.
* HometownNickname: Mississippi and The Swede. We learn Mississippi's real name, [[RunningGag many times]], but it's just too long for anyone to bother remembering.
* ICanStillFight: Cole's right arm is paralyzed from the bullet against his spine and J.P. was shot in the leg and needs crutches. Despite these limitations they come up with a plan to rescue Saul [=MacDonald=] from [=McLeod=] and Jason.
* IHaveYourWife: In the later part of the film, Jason and [=McLeod=] try to blackmail Kevin [=MacDonald=] by holding his son Saul hostage. This not only brings Saul's sister Joey up in arms, but also his wife.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: During the AfterActionPatchUp, the town's surgeon comments to Cole that a wound in Cole's leg was caused by shot from a shotgun and asks who was using the shotgun. Mississippi, looking embarrassed, confesses to the action, to which Bull quips that the safest place to be when Mississippi fires his gun is ''behind'' him.
* IronicEcho: ''Well don't you think I know a girl?'' The first time said by Cole while he and Mississippi are traveling. The second time by Mississippi after he stopped for a chat ''while they were tracking down a group of gunmen''. Granted, she was telling him where to find them.
* KnifeNut: Mississippi.
** [[SubvertedTrope ...only because he can't use a gun.]]
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: The title refers to the poem ''Eldorado'' (1849) by Creator/EdgarAllanPoe, which is recited by Mississippi at various points in the film. The hero of the poem is an ageing knight who loses his strength searching for the legendary city of gold, while the hero of the film is an ageing gunfighter whose strength his sapped by his life-threatening wound.
* LivingMacGuffin and HostageForMacGuffin: The villains capture Cole Thornton and offer to trade him for Bart Jason, who is in jail awaiting trial for murder.
* MixedAncestry: Nelse [=McLeod=] is part Indian, which makes ex-Indian fighter Bull Harris's "danger sense" tingle.
* MysteriousInformant: The Mexican girl sitting by her window who tells Mississippi that the gunmen, he Cole, JP and Bull are after are hiding in the church.
* NeverBringAGunToAKnifeFight: Slight subversion as Mississippi appears unarmed whenever he challenges someone so his opponent armed with a gun thinks he has the advantage. Then is surprised when Mississippi throws a knife he had hidden behind his back inside his jacket.
* NiceHat: {{Inverted}}: ''Everyone'' singles out Mississippi to ridicule him for his hat, which he wears for sentimental reasons.
** And {{Subverted}} by the same character, wearing a [[ItMakesSenseInContext tray for a potted plant on his head]] as part of a PaperThinDisguise.
* NobleDemon: [=McLeod=] is this in spades. He makes no attempt to defend the henchman that took part in the murder of Mississippi's friend, and is generally shown to be quite an affable sort of guy with lines he won't cross.
* [[NoodleIncident Noodle Man]]: When Cole and [=McLeod=] are first introduced, [=McLeod=] describes himself, Cole and another man as the fastest gunfighters in the world. [=McLeod=] mentions the third man is dead, and that's the last we hear of him.
** Cole replies "There's a fourth", but we never know anything else about him either.
** Though given Thornton's interaction with both Robert Mitchum and Bart Jason in previous scenes, it seems that "the fourth man" is probably J. P. Harrah.
* OhCrap: After Mississippi kills a man in his EstablishingCharacterMoment, a mook attempts to kill him, only for the gun to be shot out of said Mook's hand by Cole Thorton. Thorton then taunts the man to pick up the gun and draw. Before the mook can prove he is TooDumbToLive, [=MacLeod=] forbids him from doing so saying that he can't afford to lose another man. When the Mook complains of his boss' lack of faith in him, [=MacLead=] correctly identifies Thorton for who he is. The Mook doesn't say anything, but the look on his face is more than enough.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Averted in that Joey shoots Cole in the back and he recovers, but the bullet is lodged against his spine, which occasionally causes him painful spasms and his right arm to temporarily go numb.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Mississippi, because he's got [[OverlyLongName more name than most characters have bullets]].
* OverlyLongName: Mississipi's real name is Alan Bourdillion Traherne.
-->'''''J.P.:''' [[CrowningMomentOfFunny No wonder he carries a knife!]]''
* PleaseGetOffMe: Mississippi sneaks up on and tackles a mysterious gunman hiding out across the street from TheSheriff's office, discovering it to be [[spoiler: Joey [=MacDonald=]]], who, true to form, trades a few words before asking him to get off. He replies that he's actually [[AllMenArePerverts pretty comfortable]] before getting socked for his trouble.
* PosthumousCharacter: Johnny Diamond, an old riverboat gambler who raised Mississippi and was killed during a card game a few years before the story take place. We learn a lot about him from Mississippi who wears his funny-looking top hat as a tribute.
* PrisonerExchange: JP is forced to release Jason to Mc[=Leod=] and his men in exchange for Cole whom they captured.
* ProfessionalGambler: Mississippi by schooling. He does card tricks to pass the time during TheSiege.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: Alan. Bourdillion. Traherne.
* ARealManIsAKiller: {{Subverted}}, in his introductory scene, Mississippi kills the last of four men responsible for the death of his mentor. With a knife. In a ''gunfight''. He gets [[DudeWheresMyRespect nothing but flak from everyone else for most of the rest of the movie]] because of his relative inexperience.
* RecklessGunUsage: During the mid-movie hunt for some of Jason's men, J.P. is juggling his guns around and pointing them at Bull and Cole while he's arguing with them. This is directly ''after'' Cole has just loaded J.P.'s revolver. Somewhat justified in that J.P. is still coming off a miserable binge and could either be drunk or hung over, but you'd think Cole or Bull would tell him to stop it.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Mississippi was on one that lasted two years to avenge the murder of his mentor Johnny Diamond. He found and killed the last of the four men responsible when he met Cole.
* RunningGag: J.P. Harrah can never seem to remember meeting Mississippi, probably because he was too [[TheAlcoholic schnockered]] to stand most of the times they are introduced.
** Several different people dropping by while J.P. is taking what is widely stated to be a well-needed bath and giving him bars of soap. Adding to his indignity, the sheriff's office lacks a private place to bathe, so he's basically in the middle of the room as people parade through.
** Missippi, in general, is a series of running gags. Of particular note is everyone's reaction to his hat and no one being able to say his real name correctly.
* SawedOffShotgun: What Mississippi winds up with after he is shown to be incredibly inept with a regular handgun.
* TheSheriff: J.P. Harrah.
* ShoutOut:
** To ''Film/ShootThePianoPlayer'', directed by noted Creator/HowardHawks admirer Creator/FrancoisTruffaut.
** A belt buckle that Creator/JohnWayne sports in many scenes features the Red River D brand, an homage to his first collaboration with Creator/HowardHawks, ''Film/RedRiver''.
* TheSiege
* TapOnTheHead: [[spoiler: Mississippi]]
* TimeSkip: The movie jumps six months ahead after the first act.
* {{Tomboy}} and UnkemptBeauty: [[TomboyishName Joey]] (Josephine) [=MacDonald=].
* TheWestern
* WorthyOpponent: Mc[=Leod=] considers Cole Thorton this. [[spoiler: Cole more or less reciprocates to the dying [=McLeod=] after shooting him, acknowledging that he took [=McLeod=] by surprise to ensure the job gets done.]]
* WouldHitAGirl: Mississippi. At first because he didn't know she was a girl. Afterwards because she hit him first, but not to the point of trying to hurt her.
* YouKilledMyFather: A slight variation as the man Mississippi was avenging wasn't his father but did raise him.
-->''"Over the Mountains''
--->''Of the Moon,''
-->''Down the Valley of the Shadow,''
--->''Ride, boldly ride,"''
--->''The shade replied,--''
-->''"If you seek for Eldorado!"''