(director: Ray Nazarro; screenwriters: Frank Moss/George W. George/Charles R. Marion/from the novel Last Stand at Papago Wells by Louis L’Amour; cinematographer: Irving Lippman; editor: Al Clark; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Rory Calhoun (Logan Cates), Barbara Bates (Jennifer Fair), John Dehner (Grant Kimbrough), Carolyn Craig (Junie Hatchett), Tom Pittman (Lonnie Foreman), Frank DeKova (Lugo), Leo Gordon (Zimmerman), Bob Woodward (Graves), Myron Healey (Webb), Reg Parton (Conley), Fred Krone (Styles), Francis De Sales(Sgt. Sheehan); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Rory Calhoun/Victor M. Orsatti; Columbia Pictures; 1958)
“A rugged looking and acting Rory Calhoun carries the old-fashioned and predictable western with his star presence.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A routine B film western set after the Civil War in the Arizona desert. It’s based on the novel Last Stand at Papago Wells by Louis L’Amour, which is adapted to the screen by Frank Moss. Veteran B filmmaker, in his last Hollywood film, Ray Nazarro (“Domino Kid”/”The Hired Gun”), does a decent job in keeping the action moving. George W. George and Charles R. Marion are the dependable screenwriters who, nevertheless, add nothing fresh to such a familiar tale.
Logan Cates (Rory Calhoun) is a drifter crossing the desert on his way to Yuma, when he spots Apaches attacking three riders and he fires a warning shot with his rifle. That shot saves the life of the 19-year-old Lonnie Foreman (Tom Pittman), as the other two are killed while running away.
While Logan is riding away from the Indians he finds the traumatized teenager Junie Hatchett (Carolyn Craig), whose family was killed and is the sole survivor of a wagon train massacre by the Apaches. Logan takes her along with him to Yuma, but first stops at the oasis at Apache Wells. There he finds the grateful Lonnie. They are soon joined by the hostile Grant Kimbrough (John Dehner) and his fiancée, Jennifer Fair (Barbara Bates), the former girlfriend of Logan’s, who are on their way to Yuma to take the stage East to get married. The group is then joined by six green combat cavalry soldiers, running from the heathens on their first Indian skirmish-Sgt. Sheehan (Francis De Sales) and Pvts. Zimmerman (Leo Gordon), Graves (Bob Woodward), Conley (Reg Parton), Styles (Fred Krone) and Webb (Myron Healey).
Logan lets on that Churupati, a renegade Apache chief, is the culprit behind the attacks. The desk sergeant troop leader Sheehan realizes Logan is better prepared to lead the men than he is and allows him to. The group is joined by Lugo (Frank DeKova), a Pima Indian, on the run from the law for killing a soldier in self defense for trying to steal his gold nuggets he mined in the hills. Since the Pimas and Apaches are enemies, Logan allows him to stay as he also gets another fighter for when the Apaches will attack.
While waiting for the attack, Junie and Lonnie fall in love and plan on going on to California together. Meanwhile Jennifer finds out Grant is a cowardly despicable man and in the end will dump him for a changed Logan.
Since Apaches don’t fight in a storm according to Logan, when a storm comes at night Logan and a few survivors attack with home made bombs the Indian campsite and eliminate their Indian problem.
A rugged looking and acting Rory Calhoun carries the old-fashioned and predictable western with his star presence.
REVIEWED ON 4/3/2020 GRADE: B-