"His name is only whispered in passing. Such is the fear it provokes. He's the leader of the most dangerous gang of cutthroats and killers on the U.S.-Mexico border. No one knows his real name. His Alcazar is located just outside Ciudad Juarez and he's responsible for hundreds, perhaps thousands of deaths. For the last twenty-five years, he has amassed immense power and wealth, and has but one obsession left: The Legendary Gold of Juarez." -Juarez's Duel Challenge biography in Call of Juarez.
Juan "Juarez" Mendoza (1830-1884) was the antagonist in Call of Juarez and served as a secondary antagonist in Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. He was the biological father of Billy Candle. He acquired his nickname "Juarez" from the town he grew up in.
Juan was born into a poor family who soon abandoned him. In his teen years, Mendoza decided to live the hard way of life. Without love, or a family, he became a ruthless gangster. In 1859, Juan discovered a ruined fort outside of Juarez where he decided to settle down as the leader of a band of cutthroats. Juan also became attracted by the local legend of the Gold of Juarez. He soon drove out most of his competition, and he became known as the “King of Bandits”. The city of Juarez soon became associated with Juan, and the named “Juarez” stuck with him. Later on, Juan discovered Marisa. He believed her to be greedy and did not particularly like her for anything except her body. Juarez allowed her to associate with others, but quickly became jealous of them and limited her freedom.
Juan came to the aid of the McCall brothers against Devlin's men to protect his wife Marisa. He thanked them for saving her from his nemesis, and later promised the McCalls part of the Gold of Juarez in exchange for dealing with the irishman, also introducing them to Seeing Farther and explaining they would trade the Medallion in exchange for rifles.
After the McCalls completed their task they met up with Juan and traveled to southern Arizona, to meet with the gunrunner who would sell the rifles to Juarez. Unfortunately, Juan soon became aware he had been thrown in jail. He tasked Ray and Thomas with breaking the gunrunner out of prison. After this endeavor Juan spoke with the gunrunner, Colonel Barnsby and made a deal with him, leaving the McCalls at the mercy of their former commanding officer in exchange for the rifles at presumably less or no cost. They escaped confinement and confronted Juan, who told them Barnsby had been lying to him as well. Since it suited Ray's goals to keep the peace, no blood was shed and the partnership restored.
When they arrived in Apache territory they received a hostile welcome, Seeing Farther announced they knew the rifles didn't work. He said that William had told him about the broken weapons, and William requested the Apache spare the group's lives. Running River took his weapons, wagons, horses and Marisa, Juan giving no objection as she had betrayed him by telling William. Juan apprehended William, Marisa, the Medallion and Seeing Farther sometime later and traded the Apache to Colonel Barnsby for horses, shortly before Barnsby's assault on the Apache village. He took them back to his Alcazar where he demanded from William how to use the Medallion.
Finding no answers save, 'My faith is my shield', he left the cell and saw Marisa give the preacher a gun from above their location. He decided to try and dwindle his faith, he returned to William's prison and ordered one of his men to cut his throat. The preacher killed him in self defense, but Juarez still received no answers. Hearing shooting outside knowing it to be the other McCalls, he left and ordered his underlings to kill William. Juan was approached by Marisa, who told him she was pregnant. After insulting her and turning to leave, Marisa knocked him unconscious and pilfered the Medallion from him. After he awakened he began speaking to one of his minions before Ray appeared from William's cell. Juarez fled and eventually began a firefight with Ray in the caverns below his Alcazar.
He said that Marisa had betrayed them both, shedding more light on the subject of Thomas's failure to secure the gates. Juan and Ray began a duel, which he lost. Injured to an unknown degree he dropped out of sight in the knee high water, perhaps too stunned to struggle. Ray began searching for him but William convinced him Juarez didn't matter.
Alive and well eighteen years later, Juarez sent Ty Stewart and the McClyde brothers under command of Tom Manson to kill Thomas and Marisa and bring him the Medallion. While the first half of the assignment was successful, the latter was not, however Manson and his group were aware that Billy had the Medallion, making him their new target (how this happened is uncertain). Eventually they succeeded in capturing him and brought him back to Juan, however his son did not have the Medallion.
Juarez lied to him saying Marisa had been killed in the crossfire, and demanded to know where the Medallion was, not believing Billy had lost it in the river. He revealed that they had captured Molly and Juarez told him to get the Medallion or he would give her to his minions for their enjoyment, Billy was released with his whip outside the Alcazar, unbeknowst to the young man Juan had him followed. Billy eventually lead them right to the Gold of Juarez, Juan believed Billy had lied to him and his men attacked him, forcing him to flee for his life. Ray McCall came back through the same passage leaving a trail of corpses behind him and wounded Juarez once more. Juan revealed Marisa and Thomas were killed by his orders, and said that if they did not bring him the gold Molly would die.
Ray arrived at Juarez's Alcazar with a covered wagon and revealed a Gatling gun he had somehow obtained, and began shooting down Juan's minions. After he made it to Molly's cell Juarez began throwing sticks of dynamite down at them, which the aging preacher managed to shoot before they landed. Juan next threw a lantern which quickly set the hay-covered floor afire. Billy saved them, and confronted Juarez. Deceptive as usual, Juarez said it was not too late to fix things between them, however Billy refused and stated he had his mother murdered. Juan gave Billy his second Volcano Gun loaded with three bullets, saying that both weapons contained the same amount of ammo, although he lied. Billy won the duel and appeared to kill Juarez.
When he finally reached Molly and Ray, Juan reappeared and shot Ray point blank range in the chest with a revolver. He revealed he had been wearing a breastplate, aimed at Billy and pulled the trigger, but the gun was devoid of ammo. He then discarded it and entered a brawl with his son, and again Billy prevailed. Billy and Molly embraced, eyes turned away from Juarez as he slowly began to rise, knife in hand. Right before he could end his son's life, Reverand Ray shot him, finally killing the monster but also losing his own life afterwards.
In Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, Juan had average length black hair, a black mustache, and stubble. He wore a white shirt, with brown pants and boots. In Call of Juarez, his hair was shorter and combed-over, and he had a thicker mustache. He wore a blue shirt with brown pants and boots. He carried two Volcano Guns at all times.
Juan was a cold-hearted, power hungry man who was easily angered, wouldn't hesitate to murder, and devoid of love for anyone. He also frequently took things out of context and was a pathological liar. Juan was also a cheat, as when he and Billy faced each other in a duel he claimed that both guns were only loaded with three bullets each, except his was loaded with six. He was also wearing plate armor to save himself from a fatal shot during the duel. Another example of his dishonest nature is shown when he tries to trick the apaches by selling them 300 useless rifles to get the medallion.
- Juan Mendoza is the only character in the series who serves as an antagonist in two games.
- Mendoza was atheist.
- Judging by the condition of Mendoza's fort between Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and seventeen years later in Call of Juarez, it is possible the Mexican government attacked it. The evidence being that his fort had become neglected (many of his luxuries and buildings had disappeared), and there was a cannon guarding the south wall.
- Juan is of Spanish origin meaning "The Lord is gracious". Mendoza originates from the Basque region of Spain. It means "Cold mountain".
- Ironically, Mendoza spared Marisa when she revealed she was pregnant with his child, yet he didn't hesitate to try and kill his own son when the time came for it.
- If the player shoots Mendoza in the head at the duel as Billy, he will still kill Ray and claim to have been wearing body armor the entire time despite it being an unguarded and lethal shot.