The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The 1948 Warner Brothers film "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" shows some Mexican silver pesos
of the type in circulation in 1924.
three Americans in 1925 Mexico who go prospecting for gold in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains.
Curtin and Fred C. Dobbs meet in Tampico, Mexico.
Both are living rough, and Dobbs spends time panhandling.
They meet Howard, an old prospector, who tells them about his prospecting adventures.
The two men get jobs, then some money, and join Howard on a gold mining venture into Mexico's
Sierra Madre mountains.
A fourth man, Cody, shows up and wants to join in, they reject him, but then bandits arrive
and the four engage in a gun battle with them.
Cody is killed in the battle, and the bandits leave, pursued by Federal police.
On the way, Howard saves the life of an Indian child, and the Indian tribe invites Howard
to stay with them, an offer he can not refuse.
finally pulling guns with Dobbs the victor.
Dobbs, thinking he has killed Curtin, heads down the trail.
The Indians find Curtin, bring him to Howard, the two then ride after Dobbs.
The remaining men find that the bandits tried to sell the burros, and were arrested and shot by police.
The bandits had dumped the bags of gold thinking that it was sand.
and Curtin heads back toward the US.
Early in the film, Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) is panhandling with the line:
"Say, Mister - Will you stake a fellow American to a meal?"
An American wearing a white suit gives him a silver peso which is shown in Bogart's hand.
2. Lottery poster
The poster gives the time that the film is set, early 1925.
3. Fred C. Dobbs spots a likely customer
"Say, Mister. Will you stake a fellow American to a meal?".
4. First peso reverse
The coin appears to be a Mexico peso, listed in the catalog
Krause Coins of the World as number KM 455, size 33mm, 0.720 silver.
It is hard to make out the date of the coin, but they were made from 1920 to 1945.
The coin might be dated 1924 as it looks new in early 1925 when the film is set.
5. First peso obverse
A Mexican peso dated 1924:
6. The real goods
7. Dobbs buys lottery ticket
8. Dobbs asks for second peso
9. Second peso obverse
10. Another use for his pesos
11. Dobbs asks for third peso
12. Third peso obverse
He realizes that he has asked the same man three times.
The man gives him a fourth peso, and tells him no more.
13. Howard, the old prospector
Howard tells the younger men about gold.
Say, answer me this one, will you? Why is gold worth some twenty bucks an ounce?
Well, there's no other explanation, mister.
Gold itself ain't good for nothing except making jewelry with and gold teeth.
14. Dobbs gets some more money
These appear to be standard Mexican Revolution motion picture stage money bills.
Since the 1920's, motion picture companies have used these notes, reprinted from
Mexican Revolution (1910-1925) notes issued by the states of Chihuahua and Sonora.
15. Mexican Revolution Sonora note obverse
16. Mexican Revolution Sonora note reverse
The men pool their money together to start their venture.
They have $600 to start with.
17. The men ride a train into the mountains
The men leave the train and head for the small mountain town of Perla.
There, they purchase burros and other last supplies for the trip.
18. The men buy some burros
Silver coins (pesos) appear on a table.
19. Fight breaks out
The young men think that they have found gold, the old man laughs at them.
20. Panning for gold
This time the old man has found gold traces in the rocks.
21. Running the mine
The young men find out how much hard work mining is.
22. Gunplay in the mountains
The men don't trust each other and each hides his share of gold separately.
"Only I know what kind of ideas even supposedly decent people get when gold's at stake." (Howard)
23. Gila monster, a type of lizard
Curtin has seen a Gila Monster (a large lizard) go into a hole.
Dobbs' goods are there, also.
The miners don't want the townspeople to know about the mine.
24. A stranger appears in town
Cody has been wandering around alone, prospecting.
He wants to talk to a fellow American.
25. The men eating dinner
Curtin tells the others about the man he met.
He is sure that the man followed him, as there he is.
The three men allow him to stay for the night but tell him to leave the next morning.
26. No company wanted
Cody warns the men that he has seen bandits nearby.
The men lose interest in Cody, cache their supplies, and dig in for a fight.
27. Dobbs with a rifle
The rifle might be a Winchester model 1894 rifle.
28. The bandits appear,
The bandit "Gold Hat" is with them.
29. "Gold Hat"
"I don't have to show you any stinking badges!".
One of the most famous film lines in history.
30. The men decide it is time to leave
On the trail out, some Indians appear and ask for help.
31. Howard and the Indians
Howard goes to their village and manages to save the life of a child pulled from water.
Howard then rejoins his partners and the three continue on.
32. Men and burros
Getting the gold, now $105,000 worth, to a railroad is hard work, too.
5250 troy ounces, or about 360 pounds of gold.
33. The Indians appear again
They need to repay him with hospitality for saving the child.
This is an invitation he cannot refuse.
Dobbs starts to go nuts in the wilderness.
He and Curtin start arguing, then fighting, then pulling guns on each other.
34. Curtin holds the guns
Curtin then falls asleep and Dobbs retrieves the guns.
35. Dobbs is in charge
Dobbs shoots Curtin in the brush and next morning, goes to bury him.
36. Dobbs with shovel
Curtin survived the shooting and crawled away.
37. Back with the Indians
Howard is getting some Indian hospitality.
Indians ride after Dobbs.
38. Riding after Dobbs
The men on horseback travel faster than Dobbs with the burros.
39. Dobbs is in bad shape
Handling burros alone is almost impossible.
40. Dobbs sees a familiar face
41. "Gold Hat"
42. Off with his head
43. The bandits take the burros into town to sell
The townspeople recognize the burros as the ones sold to the Americans.
44. The bandits try to explain
45. The bandits are put to work digging graves
46. Howard and Curtin arrive
They are looking for the sacks of gold.
The townspeople tell them that the bandits thought the sacks contained sand and dumped them.
47. Howard thinks the situation calls for a laugh
All we lost was money and hard work, nothing compared to what Dobbs lost.
48. The townsmen also think it is funny
49. Howard and Curtin part ways
50. The End
Humphrey Bogart as Fred C. Dobbs
Walter Huston as Howard
Tim Holt as Curtin
Bruce Bennett as Cody
Alfonso Bedoya as "Gold Hat" (bandit)
Writers: John Huston, B. Traven (novel)
B. Traven on Gold:
From The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven, published in 1935.
In the first place, it changes your character entirely.
When you have it your soul is no longer the same as it was before.
No getting away from that.
but, bet your blessed paradise, the more you have, the more you want to add,
to make it just that much more.
regardless how many human beings it may cost, as long as the gold itself
does not give out and disappear, they will risk life, health, and mind,
and face every danger and risk conceivable, to get hold of the precious metal.
Only I know whom I am sitting here with by the fire and what sort of ideas
even supposedly decent people can get into their heads when gold is at stake.
head of a king was more often than not passed through hands of creatures
who would make that king or elegant lady shudder.
A noble king who wished to show his high-mindedness could do no better than
have his crown made of iron.
For this reason they own most of it.
The rest is owned by those who do not care where the gold comes from or
in what sort of hands it has been.