After fierce war chief Ulzana and a small war party jump the reservation bent on murder and terror, an inexperienced young lieutenant is assigned to track him down.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Garnett DeBuin
Jorge Luke ...
Ulzana (as Joaquin Martinez)
Captain Gates
Douglass Watson ...
Maj. Cartwright
Dran Hamilton ...
Mrs. Riordan
John Pearce ...
Gladys Holland ...
Mrs. Rukeyser
Margaret Fairchild ...
McIntosh's Indian Woman (as Aimee Ecclés)
Otto Reichow ...


Report reaches the US cavalry that the Apache leader Ulzana has left his reservation with a band of followers. A compassionate young officer, Lieutenant DeBuin, is given a small company to find him and bring him back; accompanying the troop is McIntosh, an experienced scout, and Ke-Ni-Tay, an Apache guide. Ulzana massacres, rapes and loots across the countryside; and as DeBuin encounters the remains of his victims, he is compelled to learn from McIntosh and to confront his own naiveté and hidden prejudice. Written by David Levene <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One man alone understood the savagery of the early American west from both sides. See more »


Adventure | Western


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

18 October 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La venganza de Ulzana  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filmed for $1.2 million in only seven weeks, a good three to four weeks less than most of Robert Aldrich's movies. See more »


When the platoon sets out from the fort, Macintosh's Indian girlfriend is watching them depart, with her face half-hidden by the shawl she is holding tightly under her nose. The next shot cuts straight to a close up of her face, but her hands are not in view and more of her face is hidden by the shawl. See more »


McIntosh: Lieutenant, a horse will run so far, so fast, for so long, and then it will lie down on ya. When a horse lies down on an Apache, he puts a fire under his belly and gets him back on his feet. When the horse dies, he gets off, eats a bit of it, and steals another. Ain't no way you can better that.
See more »


Referenced in The Golden Girls: Big Daddy (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Powerful Stuff
30 January 2005 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Robert Aldrich's savage 1972 revenge western which as harrowing now as then - a band of Apaches's have left the reservation and gone on a killing spree - Young and idealistic Lt DeBuin(Bruce Davison) is put in charge of the calvary sent out to stop them - he is joined by wily,plain speaking scout McIntosh(a splendidly grizzeled Burt Lancaster) and his trusty Apache assistant Ki-No-Tay - the chase is on to stop Ulzana before he does too much killing.... DeBuin is from devout Christian stock and is appalled at the cruelty meted out to the Apache's victim's - he starts from a point that they are no different to himself but as the burnings,rapes and torture mount he begins to question how these men could have been made in God's image.

McIntosh is more sanguine about it - he respects the Apache but has no illusions about the way they operate - Aldrich doesn't shy away from the more grisly acts but its more than the usual Injun bashing - the point is made that if the white man treated them better then they woudn't feel the need to do these things - McIntosh is not so convinced and there is a factinating conversation between DeBuin and Ki-No-Tay about why the Apache kill and how others deaths give the killer power. Along the way DeBuin has his metal tested and has to make decisions that affect the life and deaths of both homesteaders and his troops - Davison is good in the role and Lancaster is excellent as the older,more experienced man who has seen it all before but knows what needs to be done - but still brings a warmth and humanity to the character.

Of course any search and destroy raiding party Western of the time can have endless Vietnam parallels - and the fine script leaves the film open to more than one interpretation. Fine stuff.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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