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Apache Reviews

A brutal western in which the acrobatic Lancaster, as one of Geronimo's chiefs, refuses to surrender, conducting a one-man war against the cavalry with knife, arrow, and gun. Swarms of troopers attempt to kill him, led by white scout McIntire, who is sympathetic to the plight of the Native Americans. Lancaster, who co-produced, is in his typically over-earnest mode here, all flashing, gnashing teeth and sweaty armpits. The perspective is notable for its links to several 1950s Westerns beginning with BROKEN ARROW (1950), which revived the social concern for the American Indian which late silent film had explored. Peters is a sensuous and attractive if somewhat glamourized mate for Lancaster, daughter of an Indian (Guilfoyle) who sells out the renegade. Silent screen matinee idol Blue also appears, but is not entirely convincing as Geronimo. UA compelled Lancaster to change the ending of this film; he wanted his hero to be shot to death by troopers after he had made peace and settled down to farm the land. Instead, he is exonerated, despite slaying a dozen men, because he has conducted a legitimate war and is therefore entitled to the provisions of peace settlements accorded warring nations. The end result is suitably lively but compromised cinema.