Saturday, 3 November 2012


The second film Apache is unusual Western for the time period (1954) because it viewed the experience of the indigenous American from their perspective. In this instance the remaining Apache Warrior Massai played by Burt Lancaster who refuses to accept reservation living after the defeat of Geromino goes on a walkabout returning in the hope of marrying the new chief’s daughter Nalinle (Jean Peters) who has agreed to be transported with his people to Florida. He has brought corn seed by which the tribe he visited are able to sustain a living and which he sees as an alternative to leaving their lands. When the new chief betrays Massai he thinks the daughter is also implicated but her father has trussed her up so she cannot warn the warrior.

He escapes and takes his vengeance in a one person successful war, cutting communications, blowing things up and generally making life difficult for the acquiescent local army chief who gives in to the government men. A young Charles Bronson is in the film although I did not recognise him at the time of watching

Eventually he captures the daughter and treats her badly pushing her to the limits as a means of getting back at her father and testing the forces against him. She eventually persuades him of her sincerity and they become man and wife, “a woman’s role is to cook sew and bear children” she says. And when pregnant he elects to settle down, especially after she raids the local store for corn and clothing. This alerts the government men who ring out the army and for a moment it looks as if Massai is to have the fate he has given himself of choosing the time and place to die the warrior. Just when he is injured and about to be captured he is hears the cry of his first born and leaves the safety of the cornfield (Maize) and it is agreed that the war is over and it appears is will be allowed to stay and become a farmer.

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