War Drums (1957) Lex Barker, Joan Taylor, Ben Johnson, Larry Chance, Richard H. Cutting Movie Review

War Drums (1957)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ben Johnson and Lex Barker in War Drums (1957)

Fargo and the Indian Gold Hunters

Trader Luke Fargo (Ben Johnson) is a good friend of the Apaches, especially chief Mangas (Lex Barker) but they find themselves rivals as they both fall for Riva (Joan Taylor), an attractive Mexican girl. Despite Luke's fondness for her and Mangas' tribe not being overly happy Riva becomes Mangas' wife. Despite his disappointment Luke still works to broker peace between the Apaches and the white settlers who are moving in to the area. But when a group of gold-hunters break the peace treaty and cause a war it is up to Luke to try and prevent an all out war.

Ben Johnson does James Stewart whilst Lex Barker does Jeff Chandler. Anyone who knows their westerns will probably know that what I am saying is that "War Drums" shares some similarities with the earlier "Broken Arrow" with a touch of romance, a cowboy who is friends with the Apaches and who tries to keep a fragile peace treaty intact despite some unscrupulous gold hunters. In truth I could have mentioned several other westerns which "War Drums" reminded me off as whilst entertaining it has that feel of a movie built from plot elements used in other westerns.

Joan Taylor in War Drums (1957)

But as I said "War Drums" is entertaining with a nice mix of characters, drama and action all delivered with that nice 1950s colour palette. But whilst entertaining it is still a case that everything about it is standard. As such whilst Joan Taylor certainly grabs your attention with her looks you will have forgotten about her character by the time you watch your next movie. It is the same with Lex Barker as Mangas and Ben Johnson as Fargo even though everyone in "War Drums" delivers a solid performance.

What this all boils down to is that "War Drums" is an entertaining but pretty stereotypical western from the 1950s which has plot elements which will undoubtedly remind you of other westerns which went before it.