Cast & Crew
After the Civil War, drifter Logan Cates travels through Apache desert lands on his way to Yuma, Arizona. Logan stops when he hears the muffled cries of a woman and finds young Junie Hatchett, the sole survivor of a wagon train massacre who has been left to die by the Indians. Logan helps the traumatized Junie onto his horse and with little water left, they head for the oasis at Apache Wells. At the wells, they find Lonnie Foreman, a nineteen-year-old whose friends had also been killed by the Apaches. They are soon joined by Grant Kimbrough and his fiancée, Jennifer Fair, on their way to Yuma to take the stage East. Kimbrough, who led a Confederate cavalry detachment during the war, bristles at following Logan's suggestion that they wait until dark before leaving. Logan and Jennifer had once been sweethearts, but he left her because he felt that the life of a drifter was not for a woman. After the group is joined by six cavalry soldiers, Sgt. Sheehan and Pvts. Zimmerman, Graves, Conley, Styles and Webb, survivors of an Apache attack, Logan realizes that Churupati, a renegade chief, is on the loose again. The soldiers, having experienced their first Apache skirmish, question the wisdom of staying, but Sheehan, formerly a desk sergeant from St. Louis, adheres to Logan's advice. Soon Churupati and his men have the group boxed in. Rather than attack, the Indians fire and snipe at them. When Lugo, a half-Pima Indian, sneaks into the oasis on the run from the law, Zimmerman wants to kill him because he's an Indian, but Logan, knowing that the Pimas and Apaches are enemies, asks Lugo to stay and help fight. Sheehan objects that Lugo is wanted for the murder of a soldier, but Lugo claims that the killing was done in self-defense after the soldier tried to steal his gold. He then shows the group of bagful of nuggets that he mined from the hills. Lugo senses that a dust storm is approaching, which Logan thinks could serve as a cover for them to break out. After Sheehan is killed by an Apache bullet, Zimmerman challenges Logan's authority and tries to assume command of the group. The two men fight, and after Zimmerman is bested by Logan, he plots with Kimbrough to leave that night. Meanwhile, Lonnie, who plans to build a ranch house in California, nearly proposes to Junie, but his shyness prevents him. Later, Zimmerman attacks Lugo, steals his bag of nuggets and is about to kill him when Lonnie appears and stops him. Jumping on his horse, Zimmerman gallops out of camp and is shot and killed by the Apaches. Lugo then reveals that he had filled the bag with rocks and hidden the gold. Jennifer then confesses to Logan that she and Kimbrough were planning to leave with Zimmerman and says she is glad that Logan is strong, but then criticizes him for "barricading himself from everyone." Because the group is low on food, Logan leaves and brings some back, suffering a flesh wound from the Apaches. Since the well is starting to dry up, they begin to ration water. As Webb worries that he will never see his children again, Lonnie gets up the nerve to ask Junie to go to California with him. When Jennifer asks Logan if he regrets assuming responsibility for them all, he replies that the only thing he regrets is losing her. After the Indians shoot a flaming arrow into the camp, Graves is killed and Webb, losing his control, runs out and dares the "heathens" to show themselves. He is dragged off and tortured to death slowly. His screams unnerve the group, especially Junie, who reveals that the Apaches also tortured her father. When Jennifer asks Logan to put an end to Webb's suffering, Logan slips into the Indian camp and shoots him. As he returns, the wind starts howling, signaling an impending storm. Logan then instructs the others to fill their canteens with blasting powder, thus creating a homemade bomb. Leaving Lugo behind to protect the women, Logan then leads Lonnie, Kimbrough and Conley on a raid of the Apache camp. Kimbrough, however, turns back, hoping to escape with Jennifer, but she refuses to go, saying she does not want to spend her life with a coward. When Kimbrough attempts to leave alone, Lugo refuses to let him take a horse and then kills him in self-defense. After Conley is slain, Lonnie and Logan hurl their handmade bombs at the Indians, killing many and scattering the rest. Before leaving, Lugo gives Lonnie some gold for him and Junie to buy a house in California. When Jennifer tells Logan good-bye and wishes him luck, he catches up to her and the two then ride off together.
Francis De Sales
Frank De Kova
George W. George
Charles R. Marion
Victor M. Orsatti
Apache Territory (1958) - Apache Territory
Calhoun also produced this picture under the banner of Rorvic Productions, the company he founded with business partner Victor Orsatti in 1956. The same company also produced The Texan TV series.
Apache Territory was the final Hollywood feature directed by Ray Nazarro, an old hand in the genre. His first feature (after a few silent shorts and a stint as assistant director) was the Western Outlaws of the Rockies (1945), one of nearly 70 "B" Westerns he would helm over the next dozen or so years, quite an output by any standard.
The story finds drifter Calhoun rescuing the last survivor of a wagon train attacked by Apaches. Along the way they hook up with a few other stragglers: a young man whose friends have also been killed by Indians; Calhoun's former sweetheart and her fiancé, a former Confederate officer, on their way to Yuma to catch the train east; and a handful of cavalrymen, also survivors of previous attacks. The group is soon trapped by Apaches at the Papago Wells oasis, and all seems lost as they are killed one by one, with supplies dwindling rapidly, until a fortuitous dust storm blows in, allowing Calhoun to put an escape plan into action that involves making bombs out of canteens.
The film's working title was "Papago Wells," taken from L'Amour's 1957 novel Last Stand at Papago Wells. The wells, a desert watering hole or oasis, is a real place, and a paperback edition of the book included a map.
The book was adapted for the screen by Frank L. Moss (screenplay by George W. George and Charles R. Marion) with enough effectiveness to get him hired by Calhoun and Orsatti for The Texan show. Changes from book to screen were minor, although L'Amour had even more people showing up at the oasis and becoming part of the besieged group. Moss also wrote an episode for another Western series, Hondo, which was based on the 1953 film of the same name, the first of L'Amour's Western stories to be brought to the screen. In that picture, John Wayne played the title character.
Prolific screen composer Mischa Bakaleinikoff, who wrote the scores and did other music department work for dozens of "B" pictures (and a handful of major releases) between 1929 and 1960, is attributed with at least part of the score. In his many years at Columbia, the studio that distributed this independent production, he was one of the busiest motion picture musical directors in the business, conducting and composing for hundreds of films, including a lot of the studio's serials. Oddly, most of his work was uncredited on screen, and his output seems to have been hundreds of hours of stock music used frequently from production to production. He did not compose the film's epilogue music, however; it was taken instead from the studio's big hit Western of the previous year, 3:10 to Yuma (1957).
Records show that Apache Territory was shot at least partially on location in California's Red Rock Canyon State Park, but the oasis setting obviously looks like a sound stage, quite in keeping with the picture's modest budget.
The juvenile lead in this picture, 26 year-old Arizona native Tom Pittman, appeared in 14 television shows the same year as this release. He made two more TV appearances after this, as well as two feature films--Sam Fuller's Verboten! (1959) and the lead in one of the youth-gone-bad pictures so popular at the time, High School Big Shot (1959). His promising and very busy career was cut short in a fatal car accident on Halloween 1958, just under two months after Apache Territory was released. Pittman had left a party and driven off the road in the Hollywood Hills. His body was discovered about three weeks later in his wrecked car almost completely hidden in a 150-foot ravine. Because of his rebellious youth, his promise as an actor, and his manner of death, he was immediately compared to James Dean.
The women in this picture didn't fare any better. Calhoun's love interest is played by Barbara Bates, whose most remembered role (and ironically one of her smallest) was Phoebe, the adoring and scheming fan who invades the life of Eve Harrington and takes center stage in the indelible final shot of All About Eve (1950). Plagued by depression, bad luck, and ill health for many years, Bates committed suicide in 1969. The following year, Carolyn Craig, who is Pittman's love interest in Apache Territory, died of a gunshot wound.
Director: Ray Nazarro
Producers: Rory Calhoun, Victor M. Orsatti
Screenplay: Charles R. Marion, George W. George, adapted by Frank L. Moss from the novel Last Stand at Papago Wells by Louis L'Amour
Cinematography: Irving Lippman
Editing: Al Clark
Art Direction: Cary Odell
Original Music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff< (uncredited)
Cast: Rory Calhoun (Logan Cates), Barbara Bates (Jennifer Fair), John Dehner (Grant Kimbrough), Carolyn Craig (Junie Hatchett), Tom Pittman (Lonnie Foreman).
by Rob Nixon
Apache Territory (1958) - Apache Territory
The working title of this film was Papago Wells. Before the opening credits roll, Rory Calhoun, as his character, "Logan Cates," introduces himself in voice-over narration, describing himself as a "drifter" and relating the perils of traveling though the desert.