powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
Led by Sergeant Clovis Hook, the U.S. Cavalry finally captures Apache chief Nanchez, described by one of the soldiers as "the worst butcher in the territory." As the troops are rounding up the families of the killed and captured braves, they discover that the mother of Nanchez's small son Quito is Cora Sutliff, a white woman captured by the tribe some years earlier. Cora, refusing to speak to anyone, accompanies her boy and the other prisoners to the fort, where Colonel Weaver, after suggesting that Cora should have killed herself rather than be taken as Nanchez's squaw, conducts a search and finally locates the woman's white husband Fred. As Nanchez looks on, Hook leaves the fort with Cora and the boy, intending to deliver them to Fred in San Miguel, a small town near Tucson. While the three await the stagecoach at a nearby station, a local settler insults Cora and grabs her son, whereupon she breaks her silence, screaming that the man is an animal and that she will kill anyone who harms the boy. Hook punches the troublemaker and secures food and clothing for his charges, and Cora begins to tell Hook about her experiences with Nanchez. In order to survive, she explains, she adopted Apache ways and finally became accustomed to life with the tribe. Cora describes her husband Fred as a kind man who surely will learn to accept Quito as his own son. While riding on the stage, Hook and Cora befriend Jeff Bennett, a young cowboy who has lost his horse in a poker game. At one of the stagecoach's stops, Jeff disembarks while a rancher named Charlie Travers, a Hispanic woman named Señora Sandoval and her pretty granddaughter Consuela climb aboard. The driver, a hardened character named Mr. Trude, takes the stage into open country, but shortly afterward, Jeff learns that Nanchez and some of his braves have escaped from the fort. Certain that Nanchez will come for his son, Jeff borrows a horse and rides out to warn Hook about the escaped Apache. When the stagecoach overturns in an accident, Nanchez appears and demands his son, but Hook refuses to give him up. Travers claims the boy is more Indian than white and should be turned over to the chief, but Jeff and the other passengers sympathize with Cora and order the rancher to be silent. While the men repair the stagecoach, Travers unsuccessfully tries to bribe Cora to give up her son, and the next morning, when Nanchez appears again, Travers offers the chief the same bribe. Nanchez kills Travers, whereupon Hook threatens to shoot little Quito unless Nanchez lets them all go. Nanchez agrees but threatens to match wits with Hook again one day. After bidding farewell to Jeff, who has fallen in love with Consuela, Hook, Cora and Quito take a wagon to Fred's ranch, but Fred refuses to accept Quito into his home. Cora decides to take Quito and depart with Hook, but Fred, pointing a gun at Hook, orders her off the wagon and back into the house. At that moment, Nanchez and his braves attack. Leaping onto the wagon, Fred begins shooting at the Apaches, and after he is hit by a bullet from Nanchez, he kills the Apache and then dies. With nowhere to go, Cora reluctantly supposes she and Quito might live with relatives back East, but Hook, who has grown to love Cora and her son, suggests that they remain with him. Quito winks his approval, and all three break into broad smiles.