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APACHE is a 1954 western based on a novel by Paul Wellman starring Burt Lancaster as Massai and Jean Peters as Nalinle, his woman. Some other notables in the picture were John McIntire as Al Sieber, John Dehner as Weddle, and Charles Bronson(billed as Charles Buchinsky) as Hondo, an Apache scout.

It’s based on the true story of Massai, an Apache warrior, who slips off a train moving all Apache fighting men to Florida, and spent a year returning to his people, never making contact with white man or Native American. He wages a one man guerrilla war and was never recaptured. Every death or missing person was attributed to him whether true or not.

The story uses that as a starting point and weaves a tale of a misunderstood man who tries to go “straight,” adopting a new method he learns from a Cherokee farmer and his wife: corn, growing your own food. Foe a warrior, that’s an incredible change.

It wasn’t to be though. Betrayed by his own people, then set up by Weddle to die in an “escape attempt,” which goes awry and sets him loose again. Not knowing who to trust, he heads west, driven by the army, taking Nalinle with him. When she becomes pregnant, he wants her to return to her people. She refuses and they find a hiden patch of land where he givces up his war and returns to his original thought: planting corn and raising his family.

But then the army finds him.

I’ve not read the novel, but watching the movie was an enjoyable bit of time.

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