Bitter over his wife's death due to what he believes was army negligence, Capt. Viktor Kaleb deserts the cavalry and disappears into the southwestern wasteland. But when marauding Apaches ... See full summary »
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Robert Walker Jr.
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Elizabeth Guadalupe Chauvet
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Brandon De Wilde,
Bitter over his wife's death due to what he believes was army negligence, Capt. Viktor Kaleb deserts the cavalry and disappears into the southwestern wasteland. But when marauding Apaches set up a stronghold just out of the cavalry's reach in Mexico, Kaleb is given amnesty in exchange for leading a small band of especially trained soldiers to wipe out the Indian stronghold. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bekim Fehmiu takes a dirty dozen to ambush an Apache camp
Looks as if there is not a DVD version of this or one in widescreen, which is too bad, because it's a movie loaded with talent and well-directed. My copy came from youtube and is below par and fullscreen, but that couldn't hide that it's a good western, not really that much of a spaghetti western, but more a regular western made overseas.
The story telling is right to the point with no diversion into a love interest and containing plenty of conflict that is natural. It's easy to be swept up into storytelling like this conveyed by actors who know what they are doing and crisp directing. I wondered if the director Burt Kennedy might have gotten a big assist from John Huston in the cast, and he had a substantial part to do his schtick.
The movie features a bevy of major actors in more or less supporting roles (Albert Salmi, Chuck Connors, Brandon de Wilde, Woody Strode, Slim Pickens, Ricardo Montalban, Ian Bannen, and Richard Crenna.) The story gets off to a fast start with Fehmiu deserting after shooting Crenna because he is angry that Crenna fell down on protecting the settlers and Fehmiu's wife was left dying by Apaches. Fehmiu goes off on a personal revenge quest by imitating Apache ways. Two years later, Huston corrals him into leading a group to weed out a major concentration of Apaches across the Rio Grande who are threatening the whole territory. Fehmiu picks out his dirty dozen (maybe 14-15), trains them, and off they go. All of this unfolds smoothly. After facing some obstacles and accomplishing some engineering feats, the platoon comes up against a far superior force. The battle is quite spectacular, as one might expect from a Dino de Laurentiis production. My rating of 7 is a tad high. Probably 6.5 is more like it, but certainly above the current 5.5 of IMDb voters. Its biggest negative would be some predictability, but not that much really. There were several interesting moral dilemmas and situations that spiced up the proceedings. One involved a boy Apache. Another was between Salmi and Strode who had friction but found themselves in a life or death situation. A third involved the hostility between Crenna and Fehmiu.
I'm glad I caught this one and that someone put it on youtube.
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