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HONDO AND THE APACHES (TV) (director: Lee H. Katzin; screenwriters: from the earlier screenplay by James Edward Grant/Andrew J. Fenady/from the story “The Gift of Cochise” by Louis L’Amour; cinematographer: Lester Shorr; editor: Melvin Shapiro; music: Richard Markowitz; cast: Ralph Taeger (Hondo Lane), Kathie Browne (Angie Dow), Michael Rennie (Tribolet), Gary Merrill (Ed Dow), Robert Taylor (Gallagher), Randy Boone (Sean Gallagher),Jim Davis (Krantz), Michael Pate (Chief Vittoro), William Bryant(Colonel Crook), Buddy Foster (Johnny Dow), Gary Clarke (Captain Richards); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Andrew J. Fenady/John Wayne; Vintage Home Entertainment; 1967)
Reasonably entertaining, but forgettable western.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

TV director Lee H. Katzin (“The Break”) helms Hondo and the Apaches, a movie never released to American theaters (released only to European theaters). It was cobbled together from the first two episodes of a television series that ran for only a year in 1967 (basically a remake of the 1953 Hondo).It’s based on the novel by Louis L’Amour. The lead character, Hondo Lane (Ralph Taeger), is derived from the one created by John Wayne in the 1953 movie (the Duke is coproducer, his Batjac company financed both the movie and the TV series).

Hondo is a halfbreed U.S. Army agent, an ex-Cavalry man, ex-Confederate soldier and Apache sympathizer (his Apache wife, the daughter of Chief Vittoro, was killed in a Cavalry raid), whose army mission is to talk to his father-in-law, Apache Chief Vittoro (Michael Pate), into accepting a peace treaty offered by Colonel Crook (William Bryant). Pate is the only actor from the original movie. Renegade Apaches are determined to stop Hondo’s efforts to keep the peace between the Chief and the troops at Arizona’s Fort Lowell, and raid the fort and surrounding area.

In a subplot, Robert Taylor plays a mine owner facing bankruptcy because his miners threaten to leave if the army can’t protect them from the Indians. After Taylor’s two appearances on the TV series as Gallagher and his appearance in this movie, he never made another western. Taylor, a heavy smoker, died in 1967 at the age of 57 from lung cancer.

There are cameo appearances by film actors Gary Merrill, Michael Rennie, and Jim Davis. Kathie Browne plays Angie Dow, the attractive sweet wife of the fort’s mean-spirited supply store owner Ed Dow.

It’s a reasonably entertaining, but forgettable western.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”