Cavalry Charge aka The Last Outpost his isn’t one of those “researched” cavalry Westerns. This is just a fun fest. It’s everything that is cool in a film. It is Raiders of the Lost Ark, only it’s an old fashioned Western.
First, we have the “cool” Robin Hood style hero, this time in the guise of a Confederate officer, along with his cool merry men, particularly the affable Noah Beery.
Then we have his old sweetheart married to a sneaky bad guy.
Then we have the older brother as a more officious officer on the Union side. Naturally, they clash.
Then we have the noble native American chiefs. This is middle of the road in treatment of the Indian. The Indians are treated with great dignity and respect, and like most old Hollywood Westerns, they are never bad, but misled by evil white men.
However, as many note, this is almost like two different movies from the first two thirds to the last third. In the end, although the evil guys are a pair of white men, the Indians get the brunt of the assault.
The other major problem is that the main bad guy is killed almost immediately, and we’re left without a villain, until a towns-person takes the role, but it looks like an afterthought, as though there was a contract dispute with an actor somewhere. It is a novel idea, but not dramatic, and certainly not Hollywood.
However, this is an Indiana Jones style adventure, filled with humor and pathos along the way. We know a few good men will die. We aren’t sure who, but there are clues that give us good ideas.
This isn’t a “look for reality” movie, nor does it pretend to be. It is a barroom brawl fun-house film, made to be cool. And it succeeds.