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Robert Z. Leonard
The brother of a notorious outlaw is put in a charge of a stagecoach line way station in dangerous Apache territory. A stagecoach arrives at the station with a valuable box of cargo, and the outlaw brother soon shows up, though denying that he's planning to take the cargo box. Soon, however, rampaging Apaches attack the station, and the station manager, his brother and a disparate group of passengers and employees must fight them off. Written by
APACHE TRAIL (1942) was Donna Reed's ninth role under her M.G.M. contract. As someone new at Culver City, Ms. Reed was put through her paces in a variety of roles, too learn the ropes. Here Donna is 'Rosalia Martinez' a immigrant with her Mother, recent from Spain and somehow stuck in the middle of the Arizona desert. Looking a bit too Middle-Western and with a unconvincing accent.
The story has all the makings of the 'B' Westerns churned out over at REPUBLIC. Brothers at odds with each other, the good, William Lundigan, the bad, Lloyd Nolan, renegade and all around creep. Usual cast of supporting Actors including Chill Wills, Grant Withers and Connie Gilchrist, etc. Also thrown in, some 'dudes' from the East with a 'femme fa-tales', plus a attack by the Apaches on their lone outpost. Competently directed by Richard Thorpe too the level or the limits of his talents, that were perfectly suited for this effort. At 66" it will not tax the viewer.
This was another of those thankless roles a rookie had to suffer through before making the grade and Stardom. I am sure that Ms. Reed's private thoughts were not that charitable when she first was given this assignment and the script. Though back then if you wanted to make it in the 'Studio System' you did what you were told. Ms. Reed proved not only a apt pupil but was good enough to play M.G.M. politics and soon would be getting more challenging roles. Her skills would finally be rewarded with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) COLUMBIA.
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