Apache Territory, In a very tightly constructed and entertaining B Western that he produced as well as starred in, Rory Calhoun collects a motley crew of people to stand off hostile Apaches in Apache Territory. The title speaks for itself, but it begs the question as to what all these people were doing there?
Circumstance bring Calhoun together with a former flame and her new fiancé, Barbara Bates and John Dehner, a young girl played by Carolyn Craig whom Calhoun rescues on the trail, Tom Pittman an amiable young drifting cowboy, Indian prospector Frank DeKova and a patrol of cavalry who are led by a sergeant from the adjutant general’s office with no field experience in Frank DeSales. DeSales gladly cedes leadership to Calhoun who knows far more about Indian fighting than he does.
DeSales has some malcontents among his troops, a homesick Myron Healey and a former sergeant in Leo Gordon who thinks he ought to be running things. I think you can see all the inherent conflicts and in the 70 minute running time they’re all brought out.
Actually Calhoun does have a plan to get them all out and it depends on the weather. The trick is to see how many of them survive. What it is you’ll have to see Apache Territory for.
If you didn’t recognize it, Apache Territory is yet another reworking of John Ford’s The Lost Patrol which was remade into Sahara and remade again as Last Of The Comanches. The last stand theme is enduringly popular and Columbia Pictures sure got a lot of use out of it.
Two tragedies were in this cast. Both Tom Pittman and Carolyn Craig died way too young and too violently. Pittman in a car crash after this film was completed and Craig several years later by gunshot. In John Mitchum’s book Them Ornery Mitchum Boys about he and brother Bob he became friends with Pittman and described him as a nice kid and promising young actor. Pittman was missing for several days before police found the car he had been driving at the bottom of a ravine with Pittman’s body.
Apache Territory is a good classic B western the kind that sadly Hollywood does not turn out any more.