An agent sent from Washington in 1874 takes charge of an Apache reservation and has the oppressive US Army back off, which creates conflicts and causes the Indians to have great respect for ... Read allAn agent sent from Washington in 1874 takes charge of an Apache reservation and has the oppressive US Army back off, which creates conflicts and causes the Indians to have great respect for him.An agent sent from Washington in 1874 takes charge of an Apache reservation and has the oppressive US Army back off, which creates conflicts and causes the Indians to have great respect for him.
Clum's story is worth more than this.
The narrative of John P. Clum's broadly varied activities is one of the most dramatic in U.S. history, his tenure as Indian Agent at Arizona's San Carlos Reservation, 1874/77, being particularly noteworthy and forming the subject of this film starring war hero Audie Murphy as Clum. During his assignment to San Carlos, Clum established the first Indian tribal police and court system, using the former to capture the wily Geronimo, convincing the renegade that he was surrounded by a large group of warriors, far from the case. By accomplishing all of this and more, Clum eliminated any possible requirement for continued deployment of a United States Army cavalry regiment at San Carlos, which erased profits from provisioning for the Army and made Clum's presence less than heaven-sent for the mounted troopers. WALK THE PROUD LAND is based upon incidents to be found within Woodworth Clum's 1936 biography of his father, which is the principal source for the screenplay written by the capable pair of Gil Doud and Jack Sher. Unfortunately, Doud ("To Hell and Back") and Sher ("Shane") fail to utilize the most dramatic elements of Clum's story, replacing them with a collection of banal contrivances which serve only to dissipate the feature's impact. Filmed with the wide-screen Cinemascope process, and with sublime Technicolor, the work is delightful to the eye, and benefits as well from the stylish efforts of costumer Bill Thomas. A top-notch performance is given by Anne Bancroft as an Apache warrior's widow who is "given" by the tribe's chief to Clum and who becomes his strongest ally against the Agent's enemies from within both the cavalry and the tribe. Audie Murphy's native earnestness is very effective in his portrayal of Clum, with his palpable lack of emotive flexibility being of no consideration here, and he is well supported by Bancroft, sturdy Charles Drake as his closest comrade, winsome Pat Crowley as his wife, Tommy Rall as his Indian blood brother, and character actors Addison Richards and Morris Ankrum. Many good hands were not utilized properly during the creation of this film, and since Clum's travails were largely for nought, Geronimo being released by his successor, leading to nearly 15 years of unabated Indian wars, a bittersweet and indeed revelatory quality would have been more effective in lieu of numerous scenes depicting lamely comedic children and romantic frippery that have no basis in fact.
- Aug 26, 2002
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