The last gasp of the Southwestern tribe of Chiricahua Indians in opposing the encroaching white man is covered by the screenplay from an adaptation by Richard Fielder and Albert Beich of a novel by Paul Horgan. Troy Donahue enacts the role of Lt Hazard, an idealistic second lieutenant from West Point who arrives at a remote outpost in the middle of the Arizona desert and is thrust into two sizzling circumstances – the battle against War Eagle and the romantic squeeze play between Kitty (Suzanne Pleshette) and Laura (Diane McBain).
The film just seems to mark-time-march in the ‘middle act’ of its 117-minute running (walking) time, but things perk up for the big battle sequence, and the momentum is sustained to the end.
The stunning location terrain of the Red Rocks area of New Mexico and Arizona’s Painted Desert gives the production a tremendous pictorial lift. Max Steiner’s score is a driving dramatic force but the use of the main theme seems a trifle excessive. The picture would benefit from a lot more pruning by editor David Wages.
Raoul Walsh’s direction is generally competent, but the climactic battle strategy is a bit fuzzy. Donahue’s range of expression is very slim. Pleshette and McBain’s roles hardly tap what histrionic resources may lurk beneath those beautiful facades.