Top positive review
Solid little western programmer, neatly directed
on January 15, 2015
Sorry, Clint Eastwood, but this low-budget oater from 20th Century Fox's Regal subsidiary is far from "the lousiest western ever made." In fact, it's a decent little western with interesting (if stock) characters that builds to a suspenseful, well-directed conclusion. Scott Brady is a solid, stoic lesder of a small band of cavalry survivors and a few other assorted settlers (Eastwood among them, in his first western outing, as a young Georgia hothead who can't put the Civil War behind him). The Apaches want the dozens of repeater rifles our cavalry guys saved from a raid that decimated Brady's squadron. When their horses are scared off by the Indians, there's no alternative to a 100-mile-plus hike across the desert to a secure Army fort--a nice setup for tense movement through well-photographed scenery. Some reviewers complained about the movie's slow pace, but seemed to me that it moved along crisply, propelled by the inevitable conflicts the characters experience. Eastwood displays strong hints of the charismatic actor he became. The weakest cast member is Margia Dean, as a fetching señorita the Apaches literally toss into the mix. She looks good, but is visibly too old for the role (which is poorly written anyway). I'll give her credit, though, for making sure that peasant blouse exposes one shoulder throughout the trek. I loved the movie's abrupt, clean end. It made its point and moved on. Loved the sound work too, especially during the climatic ambush when the tables are turned on the Apaches.