The friendship between a white man and an Apache chief is tested when they fall in love with the same woman during a time of frontier conflict.The friendship between a white man and an Apache chief is tested when they fall in love with the same woman during a time of frontier conflict.The friendship between a white man and an Apache chief is tested when they fall in love with the same woman during a time of frontier conflict.
The stupidest Western this side of The Legend of the Lone Ranger
I'll watch Ben Johnson in just about anything, and I just did. Though I've been a fan of Lex Barker's since his Tarzan days, in this he makes Ben Johnson look like Sir John Gielgud. This is possibly the worst Western I've ever seen, and I've spent my life studying them. This movie takes place in some weird Bizarro-Apache world, where the pseudo-word "Ayee!" is apparently the only word in the Apache language, because it's used for every possible meaning; where the tribe has a central camp, but the people blithely live in isolated single wikiup lodges apparently miles from each other, where the majority of the tribal folk have blue eyes, where Apache wedding gowns are apparently made by Laura Ashley, where a Mexican captive woman suddenly falls in love with her hated captor in the space of a two-minute fight scene, and where in about the same length of time she is transformed into a fierce warlike female co-chief in a beaded tank-top. There's not a moment of believable human behavior in the film. A handful of gold miners deep in Apache territory shoot a little Indian boy and let an Indian girl take him back to the tribe while they unconcernedly go back to panning for gold, despite the fact that even an idiot would know the entire tribe is going to show up in a few minutes looking for scalps...which is just what happens. A good drinking game would be to take a slug every time someone says, "Ayee!" or whenever someone does something stupidly and obviously against his own interests. It's also pretty convenient how often the heroes get devastating wounds yet ride off fairly comfortably after a little rest. Fortunately the photography is so drab and dim that it's hard always to be sure what's happening on screen--except in the day-for-night shots, which are sometimes brighter than the day-for-day shots! The only positive element of the entire film is some good stunt work and watching Ben Johnson gallop on horseback. That's always good to see. I hope he got a big paycheck for this one, though. At least it didn't have a title song.
- Feb 15, 2009
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