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I wonder what the Geritol bill was during the making of "Fort Utah"...
In his review, revdrcac was right on--this is a fairly typical sort of A.C. Lyles production. In the 1960s, he made quite a few westerns starring folks who used to be stars. Few of these films were particularly distinguished and most seemed to have very small budgets--but they were entertaining (especially "Johnny Reno"). The likes of Dana Andrews, Richard Arlen, Howard Keel, George Montgomery, Rory Calhoun, Lon Chaney and Yvonne De Carlo all found work in his films--folks whose careers had long seen better days. Perhaps Lyles just liked these older and experienced professionals or, more likely, he liked that they could be had for a lot less money than the hotter and younger actors of the day. Here, John Ireland, Arlen and Virginia Mayo all get a second chance--which I appreciate, as they were good actors (particularly Ireland).
The film begins with Ireland on his horse--minding his own business. Suddenly, an Indian attacks him and the attacker is killed in the mêlée. Soon, an Indian agent (Robert Strauss--in a VERY atypical sort of role for him) meets him and they decide to ride together for safety. Soon, they are attacked by even more natives. Obviously, SOMETHING is up with the local Indian tribes! Then, they soon meet up with a wagon train and their leader (John Russell)--and they decide to help them, otherwise they could soon be massacred. What about this Fort Utah? Well, the hope is that someone can get their and get help...otherwise they're all on their own. But, when Ireland makes his way to the fort, he finds it nearly abandoned...except for some nasty killers who are deserters. See this film to see and to find out what happens next.
What I first started watching this film, I thought this was yet another film where the Indians were stupid and one-dimensional. Well, fortunately, this turned out not to be the case--they had a darned good reason to be mad! Aside from a bit of macho posturing and cheap production values (the lousy use of stunt-men in the fight between Ireland and the would-be rapist is pretty laughable), the film manages to work pretty well due to good acting and a decent script. I particularly like the relationship that developed between Ireland and Mayo, but also LOVED the weird casting of Strauss--he was a hoot. Not at all brilliant overall, but well worth seeing if you like the genre.
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