A cavalry officer sympathetic to the wronged Sioux fixes a meeting between Chief Sitting Bull and President Grant but a dishonest Indian Agent and a hateful General Custer test the Sioux's patience, threatening to derail the peace-talks.
J. Carrol Naish
Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
Fort Bowie commander Colonel Garrett, suspecting that his wife Alison is having an affair with good-looking Captain Thompson, sends him on a dangerous mission to try to persuade renegade Indian leader Victorio to cease his attacks against white settlers and soldiers. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Shoot-outs among the Smooching, or is it Smooching among the Shoot-outs
At a cavalry outpost, the colonel (Taylor) dispatches a captain (Johnson) on a suicide mission among the Apaches because of rivalry over his wife's (Harrison) affections.
The colonel loves wife Allison, but she loves the captain, I think. And, the captain loves her, at least some of the time. However, the rest of the time, he loves Chanzana, but Chanzana is half Apache, and I think she loves Apache leader Victorio. Oh well, I may be wrong about all this, but then the script can't seem to make up its mind either. So maybe you can sort it out.
Good thing there's lots of action to interrupt this frontier soap opera. In fact I don't know when I've heard more shooting. Seems like somebody's always wiping out somebody else. Boy, was I surprised when the major shoots all the Indians carrying that white flag of truce. Pretty rotten thing for our guys to do, which sets off all the shooting because now the Apaches want revenge.
But then it seems like the Indians like roasting our guys over an upside-down spit. That's pretty rotten too and not in any multi-cultural handbook I know of. Then too, that part reminds me of another good Apache movie, Ulzana's Raid (1971), where the Apaches also practice some strange culinary arts. Even stranger, however, is when the Indians defend the fort against attacking cavalry (I love that wagon-ramp trick). Now where has any Western fan seen that upside-down world before.
Anyway, it's an okay Western with some interesting sidelights and the great Ben Johnson. I'm just wondering why they went all the way to scenic Kanab, Utah to film, and then didn't didn't do it in Technicolor. Then again, maybe they spent their budget on all the big shoot- outs. But-- bottom line-- if you can untangle the big who-loves-whom puzzle in this movie, I'm sure there's a place for you at People magazine. Otherwise, you might want to catch up with this cowboys-and-Indians on an especially slow night.
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