Barquero is a taut, bloody-as-a-slaughterhouse western morality play with Lee Van Cleef as the fierce pioneering individualist against Warren Oates, the personification of evil dressed all in black.
Oates is the twitchy, sadistic leader of a band of mercenaries from the Mexican Revolution, who sweep through the countryside as merciless as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Van Cleef is the barquero who has hand-built and operates a primitive ferry across a river. At one side of the water the first bare-boards beginnings of a town have sprung up in the center of which stands the steepled skeleton of a church. On the other side is the wilderness, hostile Indians and Mexico.
Oates plans to evacuate his men and loot on the barque and burn it behind him.