Major Dundee

Synopsis: During the last winter of the Civil War, cavalry officer Amos Dundee leads a contentious troop of Army regulars, Confederate prisoners and scouts on an expedition into Mexico to destroy a band of Apaches who have been raiding U.S. bases in Texas.
Director(s): Sam Peckinpah
Production: Columbia Pictures
 
IMDB:
6.8
Metacritic:
62
Rotten Tomatoes:
97%
APPROVED
Year:
1965
123 min
1,164 Views


In the territory of New Mexico,

toward the end of the Civil War...

an Indian, Sierra Charriba,

and his 47 Apache warriors...

raided, sacked, and looted an area

almost three times the size of Texas.

On October 31, 1864...

an entire company

of the 5th United States Cavalry...

sent out from Fort Benlin to destroy him...

was ambushed and massacred

at the Rostes ranch.

We are indebted to Timothy Ryan, bugler,

5th United States Cavalry...

the company's sole survivor, for his diary...

the only existing record of this tragedy,

and the campaign that followed.

Let go of me! I want my mom!

Pony soldier, I am Sierra Charriba.

Who you send against me now?

- Lieutenant!

- Sir?

Take the first, second and third squads

and cover the ridge sides.

- Yes, sir.

- lf I signal you to come, you come.

If I signal you to charge, you charge.

If I signal you to run,

you follow me and run.

- Otherwise hold your position.

- Yes, sir.

- First squad to the right.

- Mr. Potts.

Second squad to the left.

Major.

I'm a long way from Gettysburg.

Any suggestions?

Let's go have a look, slow and easy.

To the left. To the right.

November 1.

This morning I returned with the relief

column to the scene of the massacre.

The Major had expressed little hope...

that any of the civilians or troopers

would be alive.

But Samuel Potts, the Major's scout...

knew Apaches well

and said they never kill boy children.

They take them as captives

and raise them as warriors.

He felt the three Rostes boys

may still be alive.

But he had no such hope

for their sister, Beth.

He was right.

I looked down at her

and thought with hatred of Riago...

our Apache scout, who led us to this place.

His body was never found...

and I will always wonder if he escaped

the massacre or was part of it.

Hold your positions!

- That scarf belonged to Lt. Brannin.

- That's for you, Major.

I hope he was dead

when they did that to him.

If he was dead they wouldn't have bothered.

- Go cut him down, Sergeant.

- Brannin was a soldier, Amos.

Goes with the pretty girls and the pension.

How much chance have I

of getting those children back?

One chance in a thousand, I'd say...

if they gave you a division

and a year to do it, at least.

Much chance of that, is there?

I'll take five days

to get men, horses, ordnance.

On the fifth day I want you back

at Fort Benlin to tell me where Charriba is.

I'll get the children and I'll get him.

- Sam.

- Yeah?

Don't get yourself killed.

That would inconvenience me.

Ryan!

With so many troopers away...

five Confederate prisoners

broke out of Fort Benlin and escaped.

We trapped them on our way back.

Evening, Ben.

Evening, Amos.

Should have tried it before I took command.

Command of what, the burial detail?

- Move them out, Lieutenant.

- Move them out!

Troops, right! Pair of twos, right!

I brought back your wandering boys,

Captain.

Now you tell me how they got loose.

They clubbed two guards

and went over the wall.

I'd like to point out, Amos,

at the time of the escape...

were half a day's march from here...

either digging graves or rotting in the sun,

waiting to be buried.

I want every prisoner that can walk

on this parade ground in 10 minutes.

Including those in irons.

Bugler, sound assembly.

They're gonna give us a party, Captain.

It sure looks like it.

You thieves, renegades, deserters...

you gentlemen of the South.

I want some volunteers.

I want volunteers to fight

the Apache Sierra Charriba.

I need horse soldiers.

Men who can ride, men who can shoot.

In return I promise you nothing.

Saddle sores, short rations,

maybe a bullet in your belly.

And free air to breathe,

a fair share of tobacco, quarter pay.

My good will.

Best offices for pardons

and paroles when we get back.

I don't know

what that might be worth to you.

But I do know if any man signs on with me

and then attempts to desert...

I will shoot him out of hand.

From you I'll accept one man

with some experience of command...

as an acting lieutenant.

Captain Tyreen...

does the prospect of serving

under your country's flag once again...

seem more attractive

than dragging its chains in this prison?

It is not my country, Major Dundee.

I damn its flag and I damn you...

and I would rather hang than serve.

Corporal Veitch just died, sir.

And hang you will!

You and your four good friends.

You're going to stand trial

on a charge of murder.

That guard you clubbed just died.

You've been found guilty of the charges

and specifications here mentioned.

It is the sentence of this court

that on November 6...

at 6:
00 a.m. you shall be hanged by the neck

until dead.

Remove the prisoners,

with the exception of Benjamin Tyreen.

Right face, forward march.

These proceedings are closed.

Sit down.

Five years.

You're still blaming me

instead of yourself, huh?

I'll say one thing, Ben,

you sure haven't mellowed any.

When are you going to learn

you made all your own troubles?

Who had me cashiered out of the regiment?

I cast one vote out of five.

Two of those votes were for my acquittal.

But not you. Not my own captain.

Not my own friend.

The conscience of the court

was not my concern.

What did concern you, Amos?

- That the man I killed was a Yankee?

- He was your brother officer.

It was a duel of honour.

You're Southern born,

you knew what that meant.

If he had killed me, and he had a chance...

- would you have convicted him?

- I would.

You're a liar.

You voted to please the generals

in Washington.

You voted a promotion

for Amos Charles Dundee.

You're a traitor to your country, Ben.

You gonna blame me for that, too?

Sergeant!

Yes, sir.

I should have known better

than to try to talk to you.

You'll try again, Major.

The Major had asked for thieves,

renegades and deserters...

and that's what he got.

After four hours he had accepted only three.

Ryan, what are you doing here?

I'm volunteering, too, sir. I've earned it, sir.

You'll need a bugler, sir.

- Stand over there.

- Yes, sir.

Benjamin Priam, sir.

What do you do?

What did you say?

- Speak up, I can't hear you.

- I'm a horse thief!

You a good horse thief?

The best there is, sir.

Sign your name or make your mark.

I need horses and mules, Mr. Priam.

Here's the amount you'll have to spend...

and here is your safe-conduct.

- Do you need an escort?

- No, sir.

He'll be back, sir.

Yes, sir. I will, sir.

- Corporal.

- Yes, sir.

- Get Lt. Andreen.

- On duty, Major.

- Lt. Fredericks.

- Hospital.

- Lewison.

- Officer of the day.

- Sgt. Cable?

- Patrol.

- Get me Lt. Graham.

- Yes, sir.

- Five hours, five men.

- You need a regiment.

Charriba can't be taken by a pick-up

company of garrison troopers.

You should know that by now.

What are you trying to say, Frank?

Come on, speak up. Spit it out!

I'm not trying to say that

the massacre was your fault.

I'm saying that you should recognise

that your transfer to this post...

was a disciplinary action, pure and simple.

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Harry Julian Fink

Harry Julian Fink (July 7, 1923 – August 8, 2001) was an American television and film writer known for Have Gun – Will Travel and as one of the writers who created Dirty Harry.Fink wrote for various television shows in the 1950s and 1960s, and also created several, including NBC's T.H.E. Cat, starring Robert Loggia, and Tate starring David McLean. His first film work was the 1965 Sam Peckinpah film Major Dundee. He also worked on Ice Station Zebra, and, with R. M. Fink, Big Jake, Dirty Harry and Cahill U.S. Marshal. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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