When it was released in 1961, Panchito, an epic about the colorful career of Pancho Villa, died a swift death at the box office, and it’s not entirely clear why producer Scott Regan now wants to return Dane Anthony and Rosalinda Pray, its surviving stars, to Polvo, Texas, for a video memorializing the film. If it’s action he’s looking for, though, he couldn’t have made a better choice. Even though Texana Jones’s trading post is the closest tiny Polvo comes to big-city culture, the reunion is beset by nonstop problems—as befits a video on such an ill-starred project as Panchito, whose technical advisor, Jacinto Trejo, had survived a childhood as a Villa conscript only to meet his death on a desolate island in the No Man’s Land between the US and Mexico as the shoot lurched toward its close. A menacing figure in a camouflage suit is lurking around the neighborhood, a trailer is set ablaze, a local child goes missing, and Texana has to confront the possibility that Trejo was murdered by her own father when he discovered Texana’s mother was in love with the aging Villista—or by one of the smiling movie types who’ve returned to her beloved town. And that’s all before somebody decides to celebrate the occasion by dispatching one of the distinguished visitors.
Texana’s fifth adventure (Death of an Evangelista, 1999, etc.) is marked as usual by a strong, unsentimental affection for its border setting and by enough neatly solved mysteries to keep Hollywood busy for years.