Fort Bowie commander Colonel Garrett, suspecting that his wife Alison is having an affair with good-looking Captain Thompson, sends him on a dangerous mission to try to persuade renegade Indian leader Victorio to cease his attacks against white settlers and soldiers.Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fort Bowie is directed by Howard W. Koch and written by Maurice Tombragel. It stars Ben Johnson, Jan Harrison, Kent Taylor, Maureen Hingert, Peter Mamakos and Larry Chance. Music is by Les Baxter and cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie.
In the main Fort Bowie is a Cavalry and Indians "B" Western, one that's predictable even if it's not afraid to show then ugly side of Cavalry brutality. Plot is built around Johnson's Captain Thompson, who after witnessing Major Wharton's (J. Ian Douglas) cruel slaughter of surrendering Apaches, reports to Colonel Garett (Taylor) that an attack by the Apache is imminent. Garrett promptly requests that Thompson escort his wife away from harm. Easier said than done, for Mrs. Garrett is a femme fatale causing as much consternation as the Apache!
It's great seeing Johnson in the lead, he holds court and is the fulcrum of what makes Fort Bowie better than average. His character's nickname is "Tomahawk" due to his ability with said weapon, and it's not long before we get to see it in action. In fact it's notable that the first battle staged is fought with axes, swords and arrows on both sides, and it's a well constructed battle. Alison Garrett (Harrison) is trouble and the poison she lays down is the worst kind, and it's that that gives the film an extra narrative kick. Helps that Harrison is socko gorgeous, who in turn is supplemented by other beauties Hingert and Barbara Parry.
So while some of the cast do indeed look stunning, so to does the scenery, with location filming out of Kanab excellently photographed by Guthrie. It's a shame this wasn't afforded some Technicolor frontage. The vistas make for some striking scenes, as the Indians gather and descend the hills etc. Everything is building up to the big final battle at Fort Bowie, where as the romantic shenanigans reach their peaks, so does the culmination of the Cavalry and Indians toing and froing. It's exciting, the stunt people earning their corn, to round out a thoroughly enjoyable genre piece for the so inclined for such. 7/10
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