they Came to Cordura sounds like a promising good news these days scrambled. But in reality it is the title of a quite extraordinary as bleak novel classic of the adventure genre and the western (twilight where) that you just publish Valdemar in the collection Border, directed with accurate eye and a steady hand worthy of Wyatt Earp the marshall Alfredo Lara. The novel, which comes in a single, indispensable volume with The gunman, by the same author, Glendon Swarthout, is a monumental story about the courage and the cowardice and the narrow line between both set in the punitive expedition of 1916 into Mexico by general Pershing against the troops of Pancho Villa, who had previously crossed the border and attacked with their irregular the city of Columbus, one of the few invasions that has undergone the USA.

they Came to Cordura became in 1959, a year after its publication, a superb film, a classic like the novel, the hand of the director Robert Rossen and Gary Cooper in the role of the protagonist, major Thomas Thorn, whose mission is to determine which soldiers deserve to be rewarded with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration of the U.S. value, the equivalent of the Cross, british Victory (The gunman, by the way, also became a film, the last of John Wayne). Next to Cooper, a Cooper in decline and with the evidence already of prostate cancer that would kill him just two years later (although not before incarnating to the captain Gideon Patch, The wreck of the Mary Deare, and of cause let us never forget the word derelict), protagonizaba also Came to Cordura Rita Hayworth, as the gritty american owner of a ranch Adelaide Geary, accused of collusion with the villistas.

The film, as we can see now from reading the novel, it is very faithful to it, including the ill-fated bird multi-coloured mascot of the ranch and the tone bleak and disheartening, that it took John Wayne to take pests of the story when you consider that revile the american heroes. But the literary work is much, much darker, and the finish is tremendously bitter, harsh, without redemption of any kind. Is full in addition to a wild and raw poetry worthy of the landscape barren and hopeless that is your framework. The Thorn and Geary originals are much less attractive physically than Cooper and Hayworth (she is in the book “the woman less feminine that I had ever known” him), and that despite the fact that the official decorations of the novel is noticeably younger than Gary Cooper, too old for the character.

The author, Glendon Swarthout, was based, modifying it, in actual fact, the load in the Blue Eyes, the 5 of may 1916 the 11th cavalry of the united STATES, gun in hand (the sabres had left at the base), against the insurgents of Pancho Villa

In the storyline of Thorn, reader of Poe, and marcus Aurelius, “the Hamlet of the cavalry”, leads to the base of Sanity to a singular patrol composed by the ranchera prisoner and five military “of the race of gold”, a lieutenant, a sergeant, a corporal and two soldiers, candidates for all to receive for their heroism with the Medal of Honor,” the most beautiful of all” (a five-pointed star, golden with blue-celeste ribbon dotted with white stars, and that is the only decoration american that is worn on the neck). Thorn, obsessed with what makes a man to behave bravely, and tormented himself for an episode of cowardice, is engaged during the journey through hostile territory to survey the candidates to the medal trying to figure out what led them to behave as they did. Four of the military have been proposed by the mayor to the award observe them fighting during the battle against the villistas entrenched in the Blue Eyes, the ranch of Adelaide Geary. The author Swarthout, was based, modifying it but getting a description is very vivid, in actual fact, the load on that place on the 5th of may 1916 the 11th cavalry, pistol in hand (the sabres had left at the base), under major Robert Lee Howze, one of the last of the army of the united STATES (nor in that episode or in the whole of the punitive expedition was granted, however, no Medal of Honor). Swarthout, a sergeant in World War II, he had been himself responsible for recommending soldiers for the medal and without doubt took the experience for his novel.

We are, of course, in the land of the great stories about the roots of courage and the painful lack thereof. Interestingly, if we leave aside the basic treaty on the subject (Anatomy of courage, Lord Moran, Arzalia, 2018) given the fact that the major reflections about the particular found in novels. There are above all Lord Jim, Conrad (Thorn has jumped into a ditch as the Jim of the Patna) and The four feathers, Mason (the highest looking to redeem himself in the mexican desert as Feversham in the sudan, while for a path more tortuous).

I have read they Came to Cordura as I was coming to see the film and listened to time and time again to Frank Sinatra singing on the soundtrack and the main theme (“The came to Cordura, in search of destiny as wand’rers have always gone”…). It has been hard, but instructive. The so-called heroes will insubordinan the greatest –that will always jotting things in a notebook: reports on his men, personal impressions (“the main product of this land is not the beef nor the gold, but the loneliness”), technical considerations, and will reveal types that are trivial or slippery, “Galahads mumbo-jumbo”, especially the snotty snob lieutenant Fowler, the brutal sergeant Chawk and the repulsive place (demoted to soldier) Trubee. “Is it possible that a man can be at the same time treacherous and brave, lazy and brave, bad and bold, dishonest, and courageous; and, on the contrary, what can be loyal, considered, kind, honest, and coward?”, the question tormented Thorn.

The trip, after a confrontation with the villistas, it becomes a real ordeal hellish six-day, without horses and without water, in which, paradoxically, the greater it is the just emerging as the only character of integrity, decisive and courageous. Something of us is left in that dreadful end with Thorn, pushing desperately to the car crank by the railroad in an effort of Sisyphus and emulating Christ in khaki. Gary Cooper was swept away during the filming as the character in the novel and it was pretty battered. And also suffered damage to the van, more serious, Dick York (soldier Renziehausen), the charming and tontaina husband of the witch of Haunted, do you remember?, who had to leave the series and his acting career due to injuries. As in The Wizard of Oz in reverse, the claimed brave of history arrive at their destination with all his cowardice and folly in evidence. Youan the novel to discover what happens in reality with Thorn and don’t stop to reflect on how it would be, if this is the case, our own arrival to Sanity.


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