40 Guns to Apache Pass
|40 Guns to Apache Pass|
Original film poster
|Directed by||William Witney|
|Produced by||Grant Whytock|
|Written by||Willard W. Willingham
|Music by||Richard LaSalle|
|Cinematography||Jaques R. Marquette|
|Edited by||Grant Whytock|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
The Arizona Territory 1868: The Apaches, led by Cochise (Michael Keep), are on the warpath. Army Captain Bruce Coburn (Audie Murphy) is tasked with escorting homesteaders to Apache Wells where they can concentrate their defense against the Apache. But there is dissension in the ranks as some of the men under Coburn’s command feel they are being driven too hard. Coburn has to discipline corporal Bodine (Kenneth Tobey) for stealing rationed water. In an attack at Apache Wells, one of the homesteaders, Harry Malone (Kenneth MacDonald), is killed. His two sons, Mike (Michael Blodgett) and Doug (Michael Burns), then join the Army.
In order to defend themselves at Apache Wells, they need guns. Coburn is sent to bring in a consignment of repeating rifles that is on its way, or least prevent them getting into the hands of the Apache. En route, Coburn and his men are attacked. The inexperienced Malone brothers are left to guard the horses, but Mike disobeys orders and goes off to fight the Indians. He is last seen alive screaming for his brother's help, but Doug is a coward who lets his brother die.
The survivors of the patrol manage to rendezvous with the consignment of guns. On the way back to Apache Wells, Bodine and four other soldiers decide to take the guns and desert to Mexico, leaving Coburn and the wounded First Sergeant Walker (Robert Brubaker) tied up. In a moment of indecision, Doug throws his lot in with Bodine.
Coburn and Walker manage to make it back to Apache Wells. He wants to go back and retrieve the rifles, but the commander says he cannot spare any men and orders Coburn to stay. He disobeys and sets off after Bodine. Meanwhile, Bodine has decided to try to sell the rifles to Cochise. Under a flag of truce, Bodine meets Cochise and takes him to where the rifles are hidden. But Coburn, with the help of Doug, has killed the other deserters and taken the rifles. Cochise and Bodine pursue and catch up with Coburn. In a delaying tactic, Coburn fights off a number of Apache while Doug gets the rifles back to Apache Wells. With the rifles, Doug leads a column of soldiers to rescue Coburn and arrive just as he runs out of ammunition. The Apache are chased off and in a final shootout, Coburn kills Bodine.
- Audie Murphy as Capt. Bruce Coburn
- Michael Burns as Doug Malone
- Kenneth Tobey as Cpl. Bodine
- Laraine Stephens as Ellen Malone
- Robert Brubaker as Sgt. Walker
- Michael Blodgett as Mike Malone
- Michael Keep as Cochise
- Kay Stewart as Kay Malone
- Kenneth MacDonald as Harry Malone
- Byron Morrow as Col. Homer E. Reed
- Ted Gehring as Trooper Barratt
- Willard W. Willingham as Trooper Fuller
- James Beck as Trooper Higgins
The film was written by Audie Murphy's friend Willard W. Willingham and his wife. Willingham had appeared in many of Murphy's films (playing Trooper Fuller in this one) as a stand in, stuntman and occasional actor as well as writing several of his films. It was filmed in 1966 in Red Rock Canyon State Park (California) and Lancaster, California. Murphy's fee was $50,000.