While riding on dispatch for the cavalry, Wayne arrives at an isolated ranch run by Page and her young son Aaker. Wayne learns that Page's husband abandoned her during Apache raids. Despite the dangers of remaining on the ranch, she refuses Wayne's offer to take her away. Soon after, there
is another Apache raid, and Aaker fends off the attackers by wounding second-in-command Acosta. His valor impresses Indian chief Pate, who declares the boy a blood brother and vows not to attack again. Meanwhile, Wayne has returned to his fort, and he meets Gordon, Page's husband. They scuffle,
and Wayne decides to bring Page and Aaker to safety. En route, he is ambushed by Gordon and a partner. Wayne kills Gordon and, upon examining the dead man's pocket and finding a picture of Aaker, learns who Gordon was. He is soon captured and tortured by a band of Apaches under Pate's command.
Pate is impressed by Wayne's pain threshold and decides to release him, but Acosta objects. A knife fight is held between Wayne and Acosta, and Wayne wins, sparing Acosta's life. Wayne reaches the ranch and tells Page the entire story. Though saddened by her husband's death, she cannot deny her love for Wayne. Woman and boy accompany Wayne to his land in California, and they are again attacked by Acosta who is now chief as Pate has died. Wayne kills Acosta during a clash, and the rest of the Apaches flee. Wayne, Page, and Aaker continue on their way to California as the film ends. The film is partly inspired by SHANE, accentuating the close relationship of hero-worshiping youngster to virtuous gunfighter, and its exterior shooting has the look of a John Ford work, but HONDO stands tall on its own. The Indians are given credible three-dimensional treatment, at least by Hollywood
standards. Page's performance earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: While riding on dispatch for the cavalry, Wayne arrives at an isolated ranch run by Page and her young son Aaker. Wayne learns that Page's husband abandoned her during Apache raids. Despite the dangers of remaining on the ranch, she refuses Wayne's offer t… (more)