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


To Defeat The Apaches, They Had to Be Just as Savage 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?


Robert Aldrich privately admitted that he wasn't entirely satisfied with the way the film turned out. 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: These horses they're after... you keep 'em tucked away safe. And if the worse comes to it - shoot them.
Sergeant: Shoot them?
McIntosh: Shoot them!
Sergeant: The army don't take very kindly to sergeants shooting their horses.
McIntosh: Maybe so, but they'll take it a lot less kindly then seven Apache bucks riding 'em off.
See more »


Referenced in Joel King: Man with a Camera (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

A nearly perfect western you shouldn't miss
29 August 2001 | by (China) – See all my reviews

A small group of Apaches has just stolen some horses and left the reservation. Their number and immediate intentions are unclear to the commander of the nearest US Calvary outpost, but his youngest Lieutenant wishes to give them the benefit of the doubt according to his Christian philosophy.

The Calvary's scout is a grizzled, weather-beaten man played to perfection by Burt Lancaster. He knows exactly what the Apaches intentions are, and seems flabbergasted by the commander of the base for whom he serves. Nevertheless, he follows his orders all the while never missing a chance to foretell what will be the result of the Commander's delays.

The premise of this movie does follow the most cynical views that one people may hold for another, and there's no point in arguing their accuracy here. Different from many other films about Indian uprisings, at least this one attempts to explain the motives of the Apaches. To appreciate any film the premise must be "swallowed", but there are many who will not be able to keep it down long enough to enjoy the excellent writing, wonderful performances, and "not a frame viewed without purpose" editing and directing. I recommend this film completely and consider it an 8 out of 10, which I give to very few films.

Upon the first viewing this has become one of my favorite, if not my very favorite, western of all time. Not for the squeamish due to extreme violence to both people and animals.

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

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