The Stand at Apache River


1h 17m 1953

Brief Synopsis

Sheriff Lane Dakota captures robbery-murder suspect Greiner just as the latter is wounded in an Apache ambush. At remote outpost Apache River, Lane and his prisoner spend the night with other travelers, including 2 women with a surprising number of fancy dresses. In the morning, who should appear but a band of ostensibly peaceful Apaches strayed from the reservation. And bigoted Colonel Morsby is strongly inclined to shoot first and ask questions afterward...

Film Details

Also Known As
Apache Landing
Release Date
Sep 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 12 Aug 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Apache Landing by Robert J. Hogan (New York, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
6,912ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

In the desert hills, Sheriff Lane Dakota saves a wounded Greiner, who is accused of murdering Indian agent Ed Wylie, from Apache Indians. Vowing to see the wounded Greiner hanged, Lane takes him aboard the barge that crosses the Apache River. Alongside them are cavalry officer Colonel Morsby and lovely Valerie Kendrick, who is traveling from Abilene to Salado to meet the man she plans to marry. At the Apache River stage station, owner Ann Kenyon expresses delight at seeing another woman, and explains to Valerie that she hates the area because her husband Tom travels constantly and the land is excessively violent. Valerie reveals that she, too, is an Easterner set to marry a frontiersman whom she is not sure she loves. At dinner that evening, Valerie, whose father was a harsh judge who sometimes issued sentences before the trial, scorns Lane's certainty that Greiner is guilty. Just after Morsby relates that fifty Apaches had escaped from the San Carlos reservation the previous week and killed a settler family, Deadhorse, the stagecoach driver, notices a band of Apaches across the river with their leader, Cara Blanca. The colonel, a notorious Indian fighter, insists that they send for troops, but Lane argues that the Indians only fight when they are given no other choice. Cara Blanca greets them in peace, explaining that his people want only to trade furs for food and then move on. Later, Morsby declares that the whites have been too soft on the Indians, who have a "natural need" to kill and must be exterminated. Lane responds with rancor, but agrees to help stand guard all night. By morning, the Apaches have not left the area, and Lane accompanies Morsby across the river to confront Cara Blanca. The chief contends that his group, who were promised farmland but given only desert acreage, did not kill the family of settlers, and insists that his people no longer be hunted. When Morsby responds with a demand that the Apaches return to the reservation, a brave attacks, but Cara Blanca stops him and allows the men to return to the station house. There, a weak Greiner vows to Valerie that he is innocent and Lane a madman, but she feels herself drawn to the sheriff. When night falls, the Apaches surround the station, and Cara Blanca asks Morsby that they will be left alone. Morsby responds aggressively, forcing Cara Blanca to assert that they will take Morsby hostage to insure that the troops will not attack them. The settlers prepare for battle, and after a shootout, Lane tries to help the women escape on the barge. They are ambushed, however, and barely manage to flee back to the station. Later, a desperate Ann attempts to convince Lane to escape with her in a hidden flatboat, but he refuses to leave without Valerie. Ann races upstairs, and when Lane follows, Greiner pulls out a gun, but Lane easily overpowers him. Valerie is horrified at Lane's rough treatment of the wounded man, but their disagreement is interrupted by Morsby's shout that the Indians have begun shooting flaming arrows at the house. When an arrow sets Valerie's sleeve on fire, Lane rips it off and carries her to a bed, where they almost kiss. By morning, Cara Blanca lies wounded on the ground, and though Morsby tries to kill him, Lane stops him and carries the Apache into the station house. While Valerie and Lane tend his wounds, Cara Blanca declares that his people will not stop fighting now because they are lost. Morsby wants to kill him, but Valerie backs Lane and stops him. Meanwhile, Greiner overhears Ann convince Hatcher, a boarder who secretly loves her, to leave with her in the flatboat that night. Just then, Tom returns from his trip, and although he reacts to Morsby's name with disdain, he helps stand guard throughout the night. Valerie serves Lane dinner and, after they discuss her loveless engagement and his love for Wylie, who reared him after his parents were killed by Indians, they kiss. In the middle of the night, Ann and Hatcher try to sneak out to the boat, but Greiner forces them to take him along. As soon as they run outside, the Indians attack, and Hatcher is shot. Ann races back into the house, and after Tom realizes that she was running away with Hatcher, he goes out to the barn. Ann follows to apologize, and as they embrace, a burning arrow sets the barn on fire, and it crashes down around them. Soon after, an Apache warrior murders Morsby through the open window, and although Lane insists that Cara Blanca announce to his people that the colonel is dead, the chief correctly predicts that the Apaches have no choice but to continue fighting. When Greiner blames Lane for the battle, Lane approaches him murderously, but Valerie stops him by crying out that he has only hate within him. The last of the Apaches then enter the house, and during the subsequent fight, Lane kills them all. The next day, Apache women come for Cara Blanca, who declares that the white men win their battles but will never win the Indians' trust. Valerie accuses Lane of having no love in him, but after he says he is through with revenge, she kisses him as a new stage arrives.

Film Details

Also Known As
Apache Landing
Release Date
Sep 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 12 Aug 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Apache Landing by Robert J. Hogan (New York, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
6,912ft (8 reels)

Quotes

We scattered them from Mexico to California. We broke their ranks, and they re-formed. We burnt their villages, and they lived in caves. They have a will to survive, a passion for life, that shames any white man's. It never dies. Nothing destroys the Apache but death.
- Colonel Morsby

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Apache Landing. A December 1952 Los Angeles Times article reported that Richard Carlson was to have co-starred in The Stand at Apache Landing, but he was removed to play a larger role in All I Desire. According to modern sources, Henry Wills and Frankie Darro were in the cast, but they were not identifiable in the print viewed. Los Angeles Daily News complained that the film portrayed "the old, old story again about the Indians getting a raw deal. And while stories about Indians are here to stay, there surely must be more novel ways to deal with the problem." Los Angeles Examiner commented, "It is the traditional outdoor picture, but it seems more like a stage play in the compact way it is presented."