Apache Drums is a highly rated enjoyable western film released through Universal Pictures in 1951. The film stars Stephen McNally as Sam Leeds, a gambler who is thrown out of the town of Spanish Boot for killing a man in self-defence and also for several other reasons - not least for fancying the same girl Sally, played by Coleen Gray, as the town mayor Joe Madden. Sam leaves town just after the dance hall girls who were told to leave in efforts to clean up the town's image.
A short while later when riding out of town, Sam Leeds comes across the remains of the wagon and the girls who had been massacred after an Indian attack. Realising that the marauding Mescalero Apaches were now likely to attack the town of Spanish Boot, Sam returns to warn the townsfolk. He is not believed until a stagecoach comes into town with obvious evidence of an indian attack. A young man rides out for help but is caught and killed by the indians who place his body in the town well to pollute the water. During an expedition to get fresh water for the town, Sam and his party of volunteers are attacked by the Apaches but their chief Victorio is wounded so the Apaches withdraw for the time being.
The town is finally attacked in force by the Apaches and during the ensuing panic all the townsfolk take refuge in a church. The church has very high open windows which the people are unable to fire out of, but are ideal for the attacking indians to climb through during the assault. The townsfolk, as well as a wounded cavalry officer who understands and respects the Apaches, the preacher and a contingent of Welsh miners, manage to hold off the attack through the windows with their guns and a lot of hand-to-hand fighting. The Apaches then set fire to the church's large wooden door. As the door burns the people realise that their only hope is to prolong the burning until the expected cavalry arrives. By doing this they manage to keep the Apaches out of the church and, as so often happens, the army arrives in the nick of time.
The is an above average routine western film with good performances, good character development and fine acting. It was shot on location in Arizona and at Red Rock Canyon State Park, California. It was produced by Val Lewton.
Film and Movie Information
Apache Drums was released by Universal Pictures in 1951 and was directed by Hugo Fergonese. The prncipal stars were Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray and James Griffith. The movie was filmed in Technicolor, in Red Rock Canyon, California, and Tucson, Arizona in the United States.