In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
During the last winter of the Civil War, cavalry officer Amos Dundee leads a contentious troop of Army regulars, Confederate prisoners and scouts on an expedition into Mexico to destroy a band of Apaches who have been raiding U.S. bases in Texas.Written by
L.Q. Jones described the filming location in Mexico: "It was the kind of town where they would slice your throat for a dime and give you nine cents change. They were not nice people." See more »
Prior to the final battle, Capt. Tyreen is shown inserting cartridges into what should be a muzzle-loading pistol. See more »
In the territory of New Mexico towards the end of the Civil War, an Indian, Sierra Charriba, and his Apache warriors raided, sacked and looted an area almost three times the size of Texas.
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Opening credits prologue:
1864 JOURNAL 1865
In the territory of New Mexico, toward the end of the Civil War, an Indian Sierra Charriba, and his 47 Apache warriors raided, sacked, and looted an area almost three times the size of Texas.
On October 31, 1864, an entire company of the 5th United States Cavalry sent out from Fort Benlin to destroy him, was ambushed and massacred at the Rostes ranch.
We are indebted to Timothy Ryan, bugler 5th United States Cavalry, the company's sole survivor, for his diary, the only existing record of this tragedy and the campaign that followed. See more »
Three major scenes (and some minor ones) were added to the restored version, along with a new score by Christopher Caliendo. The major scenes added are:
Captain Tyreen and his men are captured by Dundee in a mountain stream as they attempt to escape the prison;
Dundee spends more time recovering in Durango, falling in love with Melinche (Aurora Clavell), a Mexican girl who nurses his wounds;
A scene where Dundee, Tyreen, a several of their officers - Samuel Potts (James Coburn), Sergeant Gomez (Mario Adorf), and Lieutenant Graham (Jim Hutton) - find a marker left for them by Charriba (Michael Pate) and discuss strategy on how to fight him. At the end of the scene, we learn the fate of the Indian scout Riago (Jose Carlos Ruiz), who has been crucified in a tree by Charriba's men. In the original version, his character simply disappears without a trace.
Various smaller shots are added, including a burial of corpses after the opening massacre, children watching the activities in Fort Benlin, Potts struggling to find a partner during the fiesta at the Mexican village, and a slightly longer version of the Apache river ambush.
Also available as extras on the DVD are a slightly longer version of the interlude at the river between Dundee and Teresa (Senta Berger), and a knife fight between Potts and Gomez in the Mexican village.
Major Dundee (1965) was a test of wills between Sam Peckinpah and the studio heads, it was also a proto-type for his true master piece The Wild Bunch. The movie seems to be edited by foreign hands and out of place music has been added to the soundtrack. The most annoying thing about this film (besides the bad editing and music) is the narration, it seems so out of place.
Major Dundee is about a drunken battle harden officer who must lead a rag tag bunch of p.o.w.s, prisoners and calvary men across the southwestern desert and into Mexico searching for some "wild Indians". As they travel further and further across the arid plains, the people within the troop discover death, disease and horror along the way. They also learn something about themselves.
What could have been an epic western drenched in booze and blood was sloppily edited so it theaters could fit in more viewings and the content shocked the movie board. This led to Sam Peckinpah to become disillusioned with Hollywood and drift in and out of television before he got another chance at making another film within the studio system.
Recommended for Sam Peckinpah fans, others need not apply.
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