After a year in prison, three Confederate soldiers (Barry Sullivan, James Whitmore and Joel McCrea) escape. It doesn't take too long for them to get captured, but it's not by the Yankees but some former Confederate soldiers that have now turned bandits. Bloodthirsty and out to kill just for the sake of killing, the bandits persuade McCrea and company into a plan to get employed by a Yankee wagon train out of Santa Fe and lead it 800 miles east into a trap. Along the way, McCrea begins to fall for the lone female on the trip (Arlene Dahl) and starts to have second thoughts. Finally, right as they're about to be lead into the slaughter McCrea confesses the truth, but by now it's too late. Brilliant.
THE OUTRIDERS is too average for it's own good. The action, the acting, the direction, the photography...all of it is just "Meh." The story was especially predictable. I wanted to like the film, but within 20 minutes I was already daydreaming. Only worth a watch for hardcore Western fans.