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An Apache warrior who defies U.S. attempts to bring the Indians under control grapples with an array of U.S. soldiers sent to subdue his revolt. Sympathetic scouts seek to bring Geronimo back to the reservation before he is hunted down. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film begins with Geronimo (Chuck Connors) "surrendering" by agreeing on a treaty that gives his Apaches land on a reservation in Arizona. However, things quickly go wrong while on the reservation. Geronimo leaves with a band of warriors and declares war on the United States. The majority of the film is the story of this war, told from Geronimo's perspective.
While the script and direction are fairly pedestrian here (with the exception of a few fantastic shots of sunsets and landscapes), Geronimo works because of a number of excellent performances, including Connors, Ross Martin (as Mangus), Kamala Devi (as Teela), Pat Conway (as Captain William Maynard), and Adam West (as Delahay).
The film is also surprisingly complex in terms of sociological subtexts. With one clear exception (having to do with a subversive sale of land), there are no clear "bad guys" and "good guys" here. Rather, the conflicts of the film are portrayed as resulting from cultural dispositions, duty and necessity. Each character or group of characters is responsible for some behavior that is a fairly serious crime (legal or moral) in the eyes of other characters, and each is seeking an improvement of their lot, mostly with a desire that the other parties understand their position better.
However, there's no need to expect heavy-handed intellectualism from the film. On the surface, this is a quality western with a great deal of suspense, although perhaps too lacking in big battle scenes for some western fans. There are a number of smaller battles, but the focus is always on the strategy behind them rather than the battle itself, and in my eyes, that makes them interesting and suspenseful in a way that more clichéd action scenes wouldn't achieve. Geronimo is much more about a clash of cultures, and successfully spends a lot of time on Geronimo's relationships with Mangus and Teela. An 8 out of 10 for me.
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