A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »
In John Ford's sombre exploration mythologising of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honour which he believes is rightfully his. Arrogant, obsessed with military form and ultimately self-destructive, Thursday attempts to destroy the Apache chief Cochise after luring him across the border from Mexico, against the advice of his subordinates. Written by
Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>
The canyon that Captain York and Sergeant Beaufort ride into to meet with Cochise is supposed to be in Mexico. It is the same canyon that Col. Thursday and his command ride to defeat in the United States. See more »
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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