Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
Deep into the territory of the great Apache chief, Cochise, the demoted Civil War general, Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday, reports for duty as a commanding officer at the remote U.S. cavalry outpost known as Fort Apache, along with his daughter, Philadelphia. There, the arrogant commander will soon lock horns with the realistic and sensible second-in-command, Captain Kirby York, who, as an expert in the local Apaches, disagrees with Thursday who wants to make a name for himself in the Arizona frontier. In the end, is it wise to engage in battle when personal glory is all you seek? Written by
The working title of this film was "War Party". See more »
During the dance in the Sergeants Mess, when the dancers are coming round in front of the camera in fours, one of the dancers curtsies, but none of the other women do this. They had already done so in a previous shot and obviously the woman must have been confused. See more »
Of course, you're familiar with the famous painting of 'Thursday's Charge', sir?
Yes, I saw it when last I in Washington.
That was a magnificent work.
[to other reporters]
There were these massed columns of Apaches in their warpaint and feather bonnets... and here was Thursday leading his men in that heroic charge!
[knowing what really happened]
Correct in every detail.
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This film is the first and to my mind the best of John Ford's cavalry trilogy. It is the Custer story in all but name, with Henry Fonda as Colonel Owen Thursday in the Custer role, and John Wayne's Captain York presumably representing Captain Benteen, one of Custer's subordinates at the Little Big Horn, who despised Custer and openly clashed with him several times. This film is notable for its detailed portrayal of life on an army outpost, the like of which I cannot recall seeing to this extent in any other film. The Apaches are treated with sympathy in the film. Captain York respects them, and tries to get Colonel Thursday to, but Colonel Thursday is more interested in winning glory by defeating them. During the film, Colonel Thursday and Captain York clash several times, but at the end, with Thursday's attack on the Apaches a disaster, Captain York tries to rescue him and take him to safety. It is here that Colonel Thursday redeems himself to some extent by insisting on returning to the remains of his command to die with them. All in all, a great film.
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