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A subset of the Outlaw with a Hispanic flavor. Most often found in stories set in Mexico or near the Mexican border.

Stereotypically, the bandito has a thick Mexican accent, wears a sombrero and poncho or serape, and in later time periods a bandolier of ammunition. A thick mustache is common, but not mandatory.

Usually the villains of a Western, but if portrayed sympathetically will have a Robin Hood code of honor, or be revolutionaries fighting against the corrupt government.

As with the outlaw, the bandito often overlaps with The Gunslinger and Cowboy roles, with the latter being called vaqueros. A bandito might also be a Knife Nut or lariat expert.

Note bandito is the English spelling. In Spanish it is bandido. We get desperado from the Spanish desesperado.

Examples of Bandito include:


  • Because Mexicans were Once-Acceptable Targets, Frito-Lay had the Frito Bandito as a commercial mascot at one point.

Comic Books

  • Jonah Hex's greatest recurring foe, El Papagayo, is a flamboyant bandito leader.
  • Naturally,Lucky Luke has a few of these, from the murderous crook Pedro Cucaracha to the head honcho of a band of kidnappers, Don Emilio Espeluas.



  • Ben Snow fights to protect the eponymous cross from the bandito Zanja who turns out to be a gringo and his gang in "The Trail of the Golden Cross".
  • Banditos feature in several of J. T. Edson's novels. They play an especially prominent role in The Quest for Bowie's Blade.

Live Action TV

  • Lucas McCain runs afoul of banditos in The Rifleman episode "The Vaqueros".
  • A gang of these turns up in the Doctor Who serial The War Games.


Newspaper Comics

  • El Toro and his bandit gang from the Modesty Blaise arc "A Few Flowers for the Colonel" are modern day banditos.


  • The Very World of Milton Jones has an episode where Milton somehow ends up freeing a Mexican village of these. They finally go away when Milton makes them rich by cutting one's arm off, thus making him a one-armed bandit. Admittedly a radio comedy, but the accents and behaviours are very much there.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Some of the Quick Draw McGraw villains were sillier versions of this.
  • Salty Mike becomes a bandito in the Squirrel Boy episode "Gumfight at the S'Okay Corral".
  • Yosemite Sam appears as bandito 'Pancho Vanilla' in the Looney Tunes short "Pancho's Hideaway".
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