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Sheriff Lane Dakota captures robbery-murder suspect Greiner just as the latter is wounded in an Apache ambush. At remote outpost Apache River, Lane and his prisoner spend the night with other travelers, including 2 women with a surprising number of fancy dresses. In the morning, who should appear but a band of ostensibly peaceful Apaches strayed from the reservation. And bigoted Colonel Morsby is strongly inclined to shoot first and ask questions afterward... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
We scattered them from Mexico to California. We broke their ranks, and they re-formed. We burnt their villages, and they lived in caves. They have a will to survive, a passion for life, that shames any white man's. It never dies. Nothing destroys the Apache but death.
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The Stand at Apache River is directed by Lee Sholem and adapted to screenplay by Arthur Ross from the novel Apache Landing written by Robert J. Hogan. It stars Stephen McNally, Julia Adams, Hugh Marlowe, Hugh O'Brian and Jaclynne Greene. Filmed in Technicolor on location at Red Rock Canyon State Park and Victorville in California, film has music by Frank Skinner and cinematography by Charles P. Boyle. Story is about a group of people holed up at a stage coach station trying to not only survive the restless Apache Indians wanting to get in, but to also survive each other.
OK, picture treads familiar ground as regards the theme of the U.S. Cavalry's attempt to return Indians to the reservations or else! And anyone who has watched a number of B westerns should be wise enough to know how this one is going to pan out. True enough as well to say that the acting on show is passable at best, even if Adams looks gorgeous and is costumed accordingly, and McNally cuts a decent hero in waiting figure. Yet this is comfortably worthy of time invested on account of the group dynamic that forms the thrust of the narrative. As the group: bigot soldier, outlaw, sheriff, 2 women, stage coach driver, come under pressure, it becomes a battle of wills as the opposites start to clash.
The human drama within the depot is tightly scripted, but never overly talky, and the makers are keen to instill some action into the story as well. Which duly comes in the form of long range weapon warfare, escape attempts and the actual Apache attacks. There's also a neat twist development that significantly alters the make up of the mood within the depot. Add in some lovely Red Rock Canyon location photography by Charles Boyle and it's a case of a B western delivering a bit more on its promise. It will not hang around in the memory bank for too long after Frank Skinner's typical Cowboy "N" Indians score has closed the picture out, but it's certainly interesting while it's on. 6.5/10
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