Time: 125 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Fonda and Wayne go head to head in this complex action tale about a pig-headed, snobbish Lt. Colonel, relegated to a post in the western desert, who's willing to sacrifice anyone in the name of duty, honor and approval. Though unfamiliar with the Army's relationship with the local Apache Indians, Owen Thursday (Fonda) forges ahead with his own ideas about how, when and where their problems with the local tribes should be settled. His hardheaded, by-the-book behavior generates disapproval amongst his men, especially those who've spent years shoring up the Army/Apache peace, yet they perform their duties as proper soldiers should. Captain York (Wayne) attempts to impart his experience to his new commander, but his advice falls on deaf ears. Thursday may have been forced to accept command of Fort Apache, but he's not about to stay there for long. This situation is only temporary for him and his daughter Philadelphia (Temple).
His plan is to quickly dispatch of the Apache problem, in order to regain the respect of his superiors and return back to the South. He is highly displeased when his daughter begins to socialize with one of his soldiers, Sgt. Major O'Rourke (Bond), and becomes almost apoplectic when she's endangered during a surprise Apache raid while out riding with O'Rourke against his wishes. Her determination to continue their budding relationship, only causes her father to become more reckless in an effort to end their banishment. Thursday's determination to capture the clever and elusive Apache leader Cochise on American soil places the future of every soldier under his command in jeopardy. His arrogance and impatience blinds him to the fact that Cochise has been hard to catch for a reason. The final battle is a disaster for the Army. It's not until they are surrounded that Thursday finally recognizes the terrible misjudgment he's made. Cochise is a proud and ruthless warrior who's not about to lose his life or his freedom. With no hope for escape, Thursday does what's expected of him: he summons his courage and rallies his troops for one final stand against the enemy.