The Stand at Apache River (1953)

The Stand at Apache River (1953)
 
 

Extraordinary Fashion but Ordinary Western

Do not try and bring the wolf and coyote together - Cara Blanca

Stephen McNally and Hugh Marlowe in The Stand at Apache River

Sadly "The Stand at Apache River" is such an ordinary western that the only thing memorable about it is the surprising amount of different outfits Julie Adams gets to model. What makes it so ordinary is that it is the old tale of a group of people trapped in an outpost, surrounded by Indians and forced to wait it out, picking off the Indians in frequent bursts of action. And that is why it is memorable and surprising that Julie Adams character has time to change outfits and these are not ordinary outfits in fact they are so beautiful that they are also impractical considering the trouble they are in. Basically "The Stand at Apache River" is both cliche and a bit of a nonsense but for fans of 50s westerns it is okay, nothing new, nothing special but kind of entertaining.

After capturing suspected criminal Greiner (Russell Johnson), Sheriff Lane Dakota (Stephen McNally - The Duel at Silver Creek) and his prisoner end up staying at the outpost at Apache River with travellers Valeria Kendrick (Julie Adams - The Man from the Alamo) and Col. Morsby (Hugh Marlowe). But trouble arrives when a group of Indians who have escaped from the Apache reservation show up and whilst only want peace find themselves confronted by Indian hater Morsby who threatens them with action unless they return leading to those in the outpost pinned down by the angry Indians who just want to be treated fairly.

Jaclynne Greene and Julie Adams in The Stand at Apache River

"The Stand at Apache River" is basically one long cliche which revolves around a group of diverse characters being trapped in a building by Indians. And as such whilst the action mainly comes from the bursts of gunfire as they try and pick off the Indians who in return fire flaming arrows, the real story is the relationship between the characters. At the centre of this we have Sheriff Lane Dakota who has nothing against Indians and Col. Morsby who hates them to the extent that he takes pleasure in killing them. So we have tension between them as it Morsby and his hatred of Indian's which puts them in danger to start with.

But there are also other relationships and characters there is Ann Kenyon who runs the outpost and hates life in the west, she doesn't love her husband and longs for female company and civilization. There is also Valerie Kendrick who having come from civilization finds all the hatred and fighting alien to her, something which doesn't bode well considering she is due to marry a man who lives on a ranch. Add in a handful of other characters including a criminal which Lane has arrested and has a personal hatred off and what we have is basically these characters and their relationships dominating the story. Except none of these relationships are interesting, none of their issues really have much depth and the outcome of all of this is very obvious, heck it's a western so there has to be a touch of romance in there as well.

What this means is that "The Stand at Apache River" ends up being very ordinary both in the story and in the action with no real moment of action being that memorable. And sadly the performances end up being just as ordinary and forgettable with the likes of Stephen McNally, Julie Adams, Hugh Marlowe and Jaclynne Greene delivering cliche very flat characters. The two most interesting characters those of betrayed husband Tom played by Hugh O'Brian and injured criminal Greiner played by Russell Johnson end up having so little to do that they become a waste. It does mean that the most memorable thing when it comes to the actors and actresses are the number of different outfits which Julie Adams wears which all look stunning but also look so wrong.

What this all boils down to is that "The Stand at Apache River" is nothing more than another distinctly average 50s western which delivers a predictable story around a group of people pinned down by Indians.