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Apache Drums (1951)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | April 1951 (USA)
A gambler is thrown out of a western town, but returns when the town is suddenly threatened by a band of marauding Apaches.


Hugo Fregonese


David Chandler (screenplay), Harry Brown (from "Stand at Spanish Boot")




Complete credited cast:
Stephen McNally ... Sam Leeds
Coleen Gray ... Sally
Willard Parker ... Mayor Joe Madden
Arthur Shields ... Rev. Griffin
James Griffith ... Lt. Glidden
Armando Silvestre ... Pedro-Peter
Georgia Backus ... Mrs. Keon
Clarence Muse ... Jehu
Ruthelma Stevens ... Betty Careless
James Best ... Bert Keon
Chinto Guzman Chinto Guzman ... Chacho
Ray Bennett ... Mr. Keon


In 1880, in the Southwestern USA, Apache Chief Victorio breaks the peace treaty and starts attacking White settlements with his band of renegade braves. His reason is the famine to which his tribe of Mescalero Apache is subjected to. The newly drawn Mexico-USA border line prevents the Apache from hunting on either side of the border. These reasons are of little consolation for the American settlers who feel the wrath of Apache attacks. In the town of Spanish Boot, inhabited mostly by Welsh silver miners, Mayor Joe Madden decides to preserve the clean image of a hard-working town by evicting the bad elements. Among them, Madam Betty Careless and her girls are told to leave town. Also, card-shark gunfighter Sam Leeds is ordered out of town but he suspects that Joe Madden simply wants him out of the way due to their romantic rivalry concerning cantina owner Sally. Madam Betty Careless and her girls leave for Silver Springs by wagon. Following a ways behind on horseback is Sam Leeds. At a... Written by nufs68

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Did You Know?


The "Apache" Indians are actually lifeguards from the beach at Santa Monica, California, painted with full body paint and made up to look like Apaches. Director Hugo Fregonese and producer Val Lewton wanted the Apaches to do a lot of leaping from high windows, off of roofs, etc., and the film's budget precluded hiring stuntmen to play the Apaches. They decided to hire the lifeguards because of their athleticism and, more importantly, the fact that they didn't have to get stuntmen's pay. See more »


The vicar, (Arthur Shields) suggests the towns people, held in a building by chanting Indians, sing 'Men of Harlech' which they do in Welsh. Very strange being that the majority are cowboys. Or, not so strange after all, given that the film's prologue makes it clear that a lot of the townspeople are Welsh miners. See more »


Sam Leeds: I guess the winning hand always comes up after the game has been played. That's the way it always is.
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Featured in Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007) See more »

User Reviews

The oddest of places to find a male voice choir - who all know "Men of Harlech" - in Welsh, too!
21 March 2020 | by CinemaSerfSee all my reviews

Stephen McNally is "Sam Leeds", a gambler who is dragooned out of his town. On his trail he discovers that a wagon train has been routed by a marauding band of Apache and so returns to warn his very sceptical townsfolk - including his former beau (Coleen Gray) and his successor on that front, the mayor (Willard Parker). After he has a few skirmishes with both the natives and the mayor, the Apache attack and the residents end up besieged inside their robust but indefensible adobe church awaiting reinforcements. It's a run-of-the-mill, low budget western with nothing much to write home about. The cast and storyline are adequate for a formulaic afternoon feature.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

April 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apache Drums See more »

Filming Locations:

Tucson, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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