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Two brothers who are not the best friends because they were fighting on different sides during the Civil War have to cooperate in order to defend themselves against an attack of indians. Written by
Ronald Reagan's first starring western occurred in 1951 when he did this horse opera for the Pine-Thomas Paramount B picture unit. Reagan was always a good rider and would have loved to do more westerns in his career. But according to the Citadel Film series book on The Films of Ronald Reagan the real clincher for him okaying the Pine-Thomas deal was a chance to ride his own horse in the film. So Reagan's horse which was named Tarbaby got some screen immortality.
The Last Outpost casts Reagan and Bruce Bennett who are brothers and who have split their loyalties during the Civil War. Fate has brought them together in the west with Bennett taking command of a Federal outpost in Arizona territory to deal with a band of pesky Confederate raiders. Little does Bennett know that Reagan is commanding those raiders and little does Reagan know that the girl he left behind played by Rhonda Fleming is out west and unhappily married to trading post owner John Ridgely.
Ridgely gets killed early on in the film, but not before he sets in motion a plan whereby he will be legally allowed to sell whiskey and arms to the Apaches in exchange for them just taking out the men in gray. In fact Lloyd Corrigan has come east as a member of the government to implement said plan. Reagan refers to him as 'the expediter' and he's the kind of government bureaucrat Reagan would make fun of when he later got into politics.
Bennett is the solid dependable brother, but Reagan invests his part with a certain dash and rakish charm which if you didn't know better you would swear was coming from Errol Flynn. But the most interesting role came from actor Charles Evans playing Apache Chief Grey Cloud who is a disgraced former American general who left the army because his society wouldn't accept the Apache woman he married. Evans really makes his few scenes count and I wish we had seen more of him.
The Last Outpost is a solidly entertaining western with the cast giving fitted performances in the roles they are doing.
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