You can trace the depicted movements and anchor the film into an actual time frame, of course some sequences are ficticious (Batterville Camp, Langstone Bridge, Sad Hill), but we can theortically pinpoint their probably locations in the film. 8)
GBU’s Historical Timelines
Soon after the start of the War Between The States, in late April or early May of 1861, a group of Southern patriots that include men with the names of Baker, Stevens, and Jackson leave their West Texas homes and ride to Dallas where the Texas 3rd Cavalry is organizing. In Early July the regiment leaves Dallas and heads for Missouri on the "Texas Road" through the Indian Territory to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. They participate in the battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10, 1861, CS casualties 1,095, US casualties 1,235 . The Regiment remains stationed in the border area of Missouri-Arkansas-Indian Territory. The 3rd Cavalry fights in the Battles of Chustenahlah on December 26, 1861.
At the end of January 1862 Jackson, Baker, and Stevens are detailed as a part of a 25 man Paymasters detachment for I Corp of the Trans-Mississippi District. Around the first of February, near Ft. Smith, they blunder into a Union Cavalry recognizance party. In the heat of battle the Paymasters wagon and $200,000 in gold coins disappears. The sole separated survivors, all wounded, are Corporal Jackson, Stevens, and Baker. At the beginning of the second week of February back in Dallas a military tribunal conducts an inquiry and acquits Corporal Jackson and Stevens.
Jackson either changes his name to Bill Carson and telegraphs ahead to re-enlist in Sibley’s Brigade, then hops a stage to El Paso, or Jackson, kills the real Bill Carson who is already on his way to join Sibley and assumes his identity. Baker belatedly arrives back in Dallas and finds out that Jackson has vanished.
Jackson, heads north from El Paso and he visits Maria his "soiled dove" paramour in the New Mexico Territorial town of Dona Ana. He reaches Sibley’s Brigade joining the 7th Texas Cavalry (7th Mounted Volunteers) 3rd Regiment on or about February 25th, near Scorro, New Mexico, Territory.
Angel Eyes - West Texas Border Area
Early March 1862 -
Baker back in El Paso, hires Angel Eyes to find Jackson and kill Stevens.
Mid March 1862 -
Angel Eyes (AE) rides out to the Steven’s hacienda, he questions Stevens and discovers the fact that Jackson changed his name to Bill Carson and that he joined Sibley’s Brigade. Stevens also inadvertently spills the beans about the missing cash box. Stevens gives AE $1000 dollars to try and buy off his life, and for AE to kill Baker to boot, but AE kills Stevens and one of his sons. AE goes back to Baker and collects his money and kills him. AE is now on a personal hunt for Carson.
In El Paso as AE watches the second hanging of Tuco "The Rat" Ramierez, he questions "Half Soldier" (who was in the 3rd Texas Cavalry and lost both legs at the Battle of Wilsons Creek ) about the whereabouts of Bill Carson. Half Soldier also tells AE that Carson re-enlisted, and that he lost an eye, and that AE can find out more information from the whore Maria in the town of Santa Ana ( prehaps actually Dona Ana). Maria talks.
End of March - 1862
AE is at Ft. Marcy outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. He finds out that Canby and the Union Forces have cut the Confederates to pieces at the Battles of Apache Canyon & Glorietta. If Carson is taken alive as a prisoner he will be sent to Batterville Camp (900 miles East).
AE leaves for Batterville along the Santa Fe Trail, traveling at an average of 30 miles a day he reaches the vicinity of Batterville in a month. (what makes the most sense is for Batterville to be near Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas & St. Joseph, Missouri). The closest real POW camp was in Illinois.
Mid May -1862
AE waylays a Union Sergeant newly assigned to the camp assumes his identity, and awaits the possible arrival of Bill Carson while running a black market ring at the camp.
Tuco in a ghost town hideout is attacked by three bounty hunters, he kills two and wounds one. On his escape route out, three more bounty hunters shoot him off his horse. Tuco is "saved" by Blondie.
Blondie’s con game begins. Blondie takes Tuco into Scorro, Texas, and collects the bounty. Before Tuco is hung Blondie shoots the rope and they escape North out of town and into New Mexico Territory to lay low until things cool off for a while.
· here occurs the First Major Time Jump in the film.
Mid March - 1862
El Paso, second Tuco hanging (observed by AE). Blondie and Tuco (B&T) escape again north into New Mexico Territory. Blondie severs relationship takes Tuco’s half of the reward and leaves him 70 miles out in the middle of nowhere. Tuco heads to the town of Dona Ana,
New Mexico Territory, arriving in the early evening terribly dehydrated. He rearms at the gunsmiths.
Tuco recovered, recruits some of his old henchmen to track down Blondie
· Second Time Jump
April 7th - 1862
Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, Sibley’s Brigade is retreating through town. Tuco spies Blondie’s saddle rig & horse. Blondie kills the three men that Tuco has recruited, but is caught by Tuco.
Blondie, about to be hung in his hotel room by Tuco is saved by a cannon shot from an artillery barrage that blows out the floor under Tuco. Blondie escapes back to Texas (250 miles + or -) about 6 days travel.
Second week of April - 1862
The Scorro, New Mexico Territory sequence (fits in here).
Tuco tracks Blondie South back down to Texas by following his campfires. Three campfires (50 miles a day more or less).
April 15th - 1862
Blondie & Shorty are running the con game again in San Elizario, Texas. Tuco captures Blondie & Shorty hangs. Tuco marches Blondie north back into New Mexico planning a special surprise for his friend.
April 17th - 1862
Tuco gets supplies (food, water, water basin, parasol) in Dona Ana and marches Blondie into the "Journada del Muerta" (March of Death) desert, 100 miles stretching North to South with no water.
B&T meet "The Carriage of the Spirits" (an ambushed Confederate 3rd regiment Headquarters wagon full of bodies). Tuco begins to rob the dead but discovers Bill Carson/Jackson barely alive.
A delirious Bill Carson/Jackson tells Tuco about the buried gold in the Sad Hill Cemetery, Tuco asks about the name on the grave, but Bill Carson/Jackson begins to go into convulsions and demands water. Bill Carson/Jackson dies but tells Blondie the name on the
Tuco now must save Blondie, so he loads him in the carriage and heads for help.
April 18th -1862
B&T arrive at night at Confederate Picket Post find out they are at a place called Apache Canyon. Tuco asks for the closest infirmary and finds out that he is near his brothers San Antonio Mission hospital.
April 19th - 1862
B&T arrive at San Antonio Mission.
· Third Time Jump
May - 1862
B&T leave San Antonio Mission cross the Rio Grande and head North into the dry Plains of San Agustine passing around the Union stronghold of Ft. Craig. Tuco has a map and talks about heading Northwest and the Sierra Magdalena on their left and about crossing back across the Rio Grande and then going all the way across Texas (to the East).
B&T are captured by a Union Cavalry patrol North and West of Ft. Craig.
· Fourth Time Jump
July - 1862
B&T marched into Batterville Camp, from Ft. Craig, 1,020 miles ( at a pace of about 20 + or - miles a day, over the Santa Fe trail. It would have taken them about 50 days) to this fictitious camp (closest real Union POW camp was in Illinois). This site also is located near the longest railroad existing at the time (St. Joseph & Hanibal RR) west of the Mississippi.
Tuco tortured and tells AE that Sad Hill near Ft. Smith Arkansas is the name of the cemetery. Tuco & Wallace to St, Joseph & Hanibal RR. After ten hours on the train Tuco escapes and catches the next train back. Tuco track’s AE & Blondie South towards Ft. Smith, and Sad Hill.
AE & Blondie & AE’s gang traveling about 30 miles per day and Tuco traveling about 40 miles per day both reach Ft. Smith at the same time. ( Ft. Smith, Arkansas changed hands several times during the Civil War and makes a good candidate for the battered town and its on a major river the Arkansas. This proximity to that seasonally navigable river would account for the presence of the large seige guns in the battle at the bridge)
Tuco kills one armed bounty hunter who has been on the lookout for him for eight months.
B&T kill AE’s gang and head for Sad Hill.
2nd week in July 1862
B&T blunder upon a battle for Langston or Langstone bridge over the Arkansas River. The small cemetery nearby at Sad Hill has swollen with the dead from the various skirmishes & battles in the border area of Northwest Arkansas ( Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) was on March 6-8th 1862, US Casualties 1, 349, CS Casualties 4,600).
B&T&AE shoot out at Sad Hill.