Rage (1966): Mexican Western, Starring Glenn Ford and Stella Stevens

The Mexican title of the American-Mexican Western Rage, written and directed by Gilberto Gazcón, and starring Glenn Ford, is more accurate, “48 Ore Per Non Morire,” which means “48 Hours Not To Die.”

Ford plays Dr. Reuben, a loner living alone with his dog at the medical clinic in a small Mexican town.  He drinks excessively, blaming himself for the death of his wife and baby in childbirth.

He refuses to treat Maria, who needs a Caesarean section, and whose husband, Pancho, works at a nearby construction. Pancho’s co-worker Fortunato complains that his cat has been acting unusual. The cat bites Reuben’s dog, which then bites Reuben.

A truck brings a group of women into town as “entertainment” for the workers. One of them, Perla (Stella Stevens), is attracted to Reuben, but he shows no interest.

The next morning the women leave town, but Reuben finds Perla asleep on his examination table.

Fortunato, delirious, restrained by ropes, and foaming at the mouth. is brought into town by fellow workers to see Reuben.  Reuben concludes that the man has rabies and cannot be cured and he dies that evening.

Perla plans to leave, but makes one last effort to befriend Reuben who, again, rebuffs her.

Pancho arrives in a horse-drawn cart and tells Reuben that Maria is having contractions. Reuben follows Pancho in his Jeep. On the way, Reuben’s dog rabidly attacks Pancho’s horse. Reuben shoots the dog and realizes he himself must be infected. Counting the days back to the dog’s bite, he now has only 48 hours to be treated for rabies before it is too late. Pancho grabs Reuben’s gun and threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t first attend to his wife. Reuben drives off.

Haunted by the memory and guilt of his pregnant wife’s death, Reuben reverses course and successfully delivers Pancho and Maria’s child. His time frame for treatment is now 36 hours. Pancho volunteers to escort Reuben to the hospital in Buenavista, leaving Maria and the baby. The construction workers learn of Reuben’s predicament and phone ahead for an ambulance to intercept them. The pair encounter various problems along the way including collapse of a narrow bridge, an overheated radiator, and running low on fuel. They find some gasoline at a roadside station where they see Perla. Perla joins them over Reuben’s objections. The Jeep runs out of fuel and the threesome set out on foot toward a shortcut over the mountains leading to the highway.

By nightfall, the ambulance locates the abandoned Jeep. Reuben, Perla and Pancho camp for the night. Reuben almost kisses Perla but pushes her away mindful that he is contagious. Perla chides Reuben for blaming himself for the death of his wife and child. She tells him it was just their time to die, and he should think about living. The next day, they cross the rugged, hot desert before finding a pond with a waterfall. Reuben appears to be sensitive to light and sound, symptoms of rabies; but, when he stoops to drink the water, Perla and Pancho infer that he has not yet contracted rabies, which also includes fear of water.

The three then hijack a school bus at gunpoint.  The children taunt Reuben and the driver runs the bus off the road. The driver agrees to take the three to Buenavista and return for the children, but the bus breaks down after a few yards.

The children help push the bus up an incline so that it can then continue on its own.  In the last scene, the three run the rest of the way by foot, and Reuben finally smiles as his survival becomes reality.

Cast
Glenn Ford as Doc Reuben
Stella Stevens as Perla
David Reynoso as Pancho
Armando Silvestre as Antonio
Jose Elias Moreno as Fortunato
Dacia Gonzalez as Maria
David Silva as Bus Driver