Geronimo: An American Legend

Synopsis: The Apache Indians have reluctantly agreed to settle on a US Government approved reservation. Not all the Apaches are able to adapt to the life of corn farmers. One in particular, Geronimo, is restless. Pushed over the edge by broken promises and necessary actions by the government, Geronimo and thirty or so other warriors form an attack team which humiliates the government by evading capture, while reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.
Director(s): Walter Hill
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min

They'll fight a delaying action.

Twenty-five, thirty warriors, maybe.

Hundred women and children.

That's it.

The warriors will turn and fight.

-No avoiding that.


It'll give the women and children

time to take cover.

One thing for damn sure,

they already know we're here.

-Captain Ragsdale!


Troopers on the flat, form a line!


-Mr. Ragsdale!


Advance carbines.

Company! Advance carbines!

-Sound the march.


The Chiricahua Apache

from the American Southwest...

...were the last of the great tribes

to defy the United States government...

...and its effort to impose

the reservation system.

The Army, under the command

of Brigadier General George Crook...

...was entrusted with the responsibility

of breaking this resistance.

His campaign ended the Chiricahua

strongholds below the Mexican border.

Brought to a conclusion the conflict...

...that had raged through the Southwest

for nearly two decades.

Tell old Nan and the others

we're not going to hurt them.

We're not going anywhere.

We don't want to fight.

We came here to bring you

to our reservation.

Tell your men that.

Nantan Lupan only wants peace

with the Chiricahua.

Live on the reservation.

Only one Chiricahua warrior

and his band of renegades held out.

Then, even he sent word that he would

give himself up in two months time.

He was called Goyakla.

But years before, the Mexicans

had given him another name:


One month before my 22nd birthday...

...I reported for duty

in the Arizona territory.

It was my first post into garrison life.

In looking back, it is now clear to me

that I was as much a stranger to myself... I was to the great western desert.

My name is Britton Davis.

I was a participant in what the Army

later called the Geronimo Campaign.

It is my wish to throw some light upon

the extraordinary events that I witnessed...

...and on the men that lived them.

The beginning of my life

as a frontier soldier was at hand...

...and no amount of military training

could disguise the excitement I felt.


-Welcome. It's good to see an army fellow.


No, thank you, sir.

You don't have to 'sir' me, son.

I ain't no officer.

-Looks like you are, though.

-Second Lieutenant Britton Davis.

-At your service.

-Proud to know you.

Where you from, Lieutenant?

Born in Texas, near Brownsville.

Texas? Why, hell, son,

I thought you was from back east!

Kind of got that manner about you.

Well, I been the last four years

at West Point.



Soldados vienen.

My initial impression

of First Lieutenant Charles Gatewood...

...remains distinct in my memory.

His brusqueness was entirely military,

balanced by unfailing good manners.

In his most matter-of-fact way,

he gave me my first order... an officer

of the United States Cavalry.

I was to accompany him south.

We were going to bring in Geronimo.

He's due in a few days.

We'll go on down to the border

and escort him to San Carlos.

About 75 miles to the border

from here, Mr. Davis.

Plenty of time to get acquainted

with your new mount.



Just you and me?

The General figured that if we had

Geronimo we didn't need much protection.

Yes, sir.

A small detachment means

we're not threatening the hostiles.

You wouldn't want to pose a threat

to Geronimo, would you?

No, sir.

The Lieutenant was a man of confidence

and experience in the Apache wars.

In time I came to realise

he was much admired by his peers...

...much respected by his superiors.

That's the border, Mr. Davis.

-How will he find us?

-Easy. We're the only ones out here.


Apache medicine man.

Probably on a pilgrimage.

The Apaches, they believe in that power.

It's a kind of...

...spirit they carry inside them.

Sir, Geronimo's just going to come on in

and give himself up?

That's what he promised.

Chiricahua doesn't give his word much,

but when he does, he keeps it.

As long as you keep yours.

When the medicine man joined our camp,

I was filled with curiosity.

By personal inclination, Lieutenant

Gatewood kept his own counsel.

He met questions from an inexperienced

officer with patience and courtesy.

What fascinated me most...

...was his sympathy and knowledge

of all things pertaining to the Apache.

You don't talk to them much, do you?

To an Apache, stillness is a pleasure.

It's something they're taught

while they're young.

Helps someone who may have to

hide and wait.

What's he singing about?

Trying to locate Geronimo.

Says he'll be here tomorrow.

On a white horse.

Superstitious, aren't they?

$5 says he rides in here on a white horse.

Just because the medicine man says so?

You've got a bet, Lieutenant.


These scouts that we have with us,

they're Apache.

Why would they work for the Army?

Fight their own kind?

There are lots of different Apache tribes

that don't much like each other.

Most of all,

Apache go where the best fight is.

It's a morality, once you understand it.

All right, I'll see your $2...

...and I'll raise you $1 .

Lieutenant, just curious:

are you a family man?

I have a son and a daughter.

They and my wife are back in Virginia.

-You must miss them.

-Every hour of every day.

Goyakla is coming.

Rides a white horse.

You owe me $5, Mr. Davis.

I heard you were wearing the blue coat.

I did not believe it.

Now I know your heart.

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John Milius

John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures. He was one of the writers for the first two Dirty Harry films, received an Academy Award nomination as ... more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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