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Apache Drums

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Director  Hugo Fregonese
Music director  Hans J. Salter
Language  English
6/10 IMDb

Genre  Western
Screenplay  David Chandler
Country  United States
Apache Drums movie poster
Release date  April 1951 (1951-04) (United States)
Based on  "Stand at Spanish Boot"
Writer  David Chandler (screenplay), Harry Brown (from "Stand at Spanish Boot")
Cast  Stephen McNally (Sam Leeds), Coleen Gray (Sally), Willard Parker (Mayor Joe Madden), Arthur Shields (Rev. Griffin), James Griffith (Lt. Glidden), Armando Silvestre (Pedro-Peter)
Similar movies  Last of the Renegades, Treasure of Silver Lake, The Desperado Trail, Apache Gold, Ulzana's Raid, The Gambler

Thinking to strengthen the towns appeal to outside business, mayor Joe Madden (Willard Parker) decides to rid Spanish Foot of its prostitutes and its most infamous gambler, Sam Leeds (Stephen McNally). No sooner are they run out of town, however, than the prostitutes are killed by marauding Apache Indians. Leeds survives to bring the news back to town, but the mayor isnt buying his story. Its only after the Apache attack that the townsfolk come to fully appreciate Sam and his gun.


Apache Drums movie scenes

Apache Drums is a 1951 Technicolor American Western directed by Hugo Fregonese and produced by Val Lewton. The drama features Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray, and Willard Parker. The film was based on the novel Stand at Spanish Boot, by Harry Brown. Apache Drums was the last film Val Lewton produced before his death.

Apache Drums movie scenes Location shooting was done at Red Rock Canyon State Park scenes that must ve been incredible in dye transfer Technicolor The Joshua Trees elsewhere are a

A gambler is thrown out of a western town, but returns when the town is suddenly threatened by a band of marauding Apaches.


A notorious gambler is thrown out of a small town named Spanish Boot, but he quickly returns when he discovers the town is threatened by the Mescalero Apaches led by Chief Victorio.


  • Stephen McNally as Sam Leeds
  • Coleen Gray as Sally
  • Willard Parker as Mayor Joe Madden
  • Arthur Shields as Rev. Griffin
  • James Griffith as Lt. Glidden
  • Armando Silvestre as Pedro-Peter
  • Georgia Backus as Mrs. Keon
  • Clarence Muse as Jehu
  • Ruthelma Stevens as Betty Careless
  • James Best as Bert Keon
  • Chinto Guzman as Chacho
  • Ray Bennett as Mr. Keon
  • Critical response

    When the film was released The New York Times gave the film a mixed review and wrote, "Apache Drums is tense and exciting fare when its green and red-painted Indians, yelping and keening, ride to attack or literally bite the dust with authentic thuds. When it is loquaciously appraising its principals, it is, to quote one of them, kind of dull and tame."

    Recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz reviewed the film favorably, writing, "Its the kind of effective kickass B western where the cavalry comes in the nick of time to rescue the white folks from the attacking Indians. Director Hugo Fregonese (Untamed Frontier) gives a nod to Lewtons eye for detail and shadowy photography...David Chandler turns in a crisp screenplay thats always tense and filled with exciting action sequences except when he keeps things too chatty, which tamps down the narrative with a dull soap opera romantic feud...Pretty darn good stuff for such a modest western, showing that it takes all kinds to be brave and that the worst situation might bring out the best in a man."

    Time Out Londons review was also complementary, writing, "Beautifully staged by Fregonese, especially the climactic attack on the church where the survivors make their stand, with painted Apaches erupting through the high windows like demons from hell. Val Lewtons last production, it is full of touches instantly recognisable from his RKO series: the subtle ambivalence undermining attitudes and ethical principles, the generous stance against racism, the concern for childhood (the gambler distracts the frightened kids with an exhibition of sleight of hand), the love of traditional songs (the kids led into a chorus of Oranges and Lemons; the minister countering the Apache chanting by launching into The Men of Harlech)."


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