In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
During the last winter of the Civil War, cavalry officer Amos Dundee leads a contentious troop of Army regulars, Confederate prisoners and scouts on an expedition into Mexico to destroy a band of Apaches who have been raiding U.S. bases in Texas. Written by
Woody Strode was considered for the part that went to Brock Peters. Strode was part Native American and he wrote in his memoirs that he didn't get the part because he was told by Sam Peckinpah that he looked too much "like a half-breed" to play the part. See more »
As the troop is leaving Fort Benlin for Mexico, Dundee orders the bugler to "whistle me a tune". When the bugler starts his tune, each of the different groups breaks into their own song. The civilians begin singing "My Darling Clementine". This song, with the lyrics used, was written around 1884, roughly 20 years after the period in which the movie is set. See more »
In the territory of New Mexico towards the end of the Civil War, an Indian, Sierra Charriba, and his Apache warriors raided, sacked and looted an area almost three times the size of Texas.
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Opening credits prologue:
1864 JOURNAL 1865
In the territory of New Mexico, toward the end of the Civil War, an Indian Sierra Charriba, and his 47 Apache warriors raided, sacked, and looted an area almost three times the size of Texas.
On October 31, 1864, an entire company of the 5th United States Cavalry sent out from Fort Benlin to destroy him, was ambushed and massacred at the Rostes ranch.
We are indebted to Timothy Ryan, bugler 5th United States Cavalry, the company's sole survivor, for his diary, the only existing record of this tragedy and the campaign that followed. See more »
In his autobiography, Charlton Heston spent more time talking about this film than any other. Some other commentator said that it looked like someone took over the direction. The commentator was very observant. Heston had to take over the direction because Sam Peckinpah just lost interest and began indulging in all kinds of vices down on location in Mexico which I won't get into. Read Heston's book. Suffice it to say that he was unable to go to the set, for any number of reasons.
Heston says that Peckinpah was making it up as he went along and the film sure looks it. The plot just meanders into various situations that this motley crew of Indian fighters encounter. Heston also said that he violated a rule of his own to never start a film without a complete script, something he never did again. The film is an incredible waste of fine talented cast.
Charlton Heston and I both think the film had real possibilities and that Sam Peckinpah was a flawed talent.
If you want to see the film, read Charlton Heston's account of its making.
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