Arrowhead (1953)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Romance, Western

Arrowhead (1953) Poster

Chief of Scouts Ed Bannon works for the US Army at Fort Clark, Texas and he dreams of aiding in bringing peace to the region, despite opposition from both the Army and the Apaches.




  • Charlton Heston and Katy Jurado in Arrowhead (1953)
  • Charlton Heston and Brian Keith in Arrowhead (1953)
  • Charlton Heston in Arrowhead (1953)
  • Charlton Heston and Jack Palance in Arrowhead (1953)
  • Jack Palance in Arrowhead (1953)
  • Charlton Heston and Katy Jurado in Arrowhead (1953)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

2 August 2004 | frankfob
| Tough little western, not for the easily offended
Charlton Heston plays an Indian-hating scout very loosely based on famed frontiersman Al Sieber (who, in reality, was a German immigrant who not only didn't hate Apaches but often lived with them and spoke fluent Apache dialects; he spoke almost no English because he detested American whites and refused to learn any more English than he considered necessary). He goes up against Jack Palance, an Apache he knew from his boyhood who is returning from several years at an Indian agency school that is supposed to have "civilized" him (also based on fact; many Indian children were forcibly sent to such a school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania). Heston, unlike the local military and civilian authorities, doesn't believe that Palance has been "civilized" and suspects that he's secretly planning to lead the Apaches in attacking and massacring the local white population. This is a tough and, for its time, brutal little western, well written and directed by Charles Marquis Warren, and pulls no punches in its depiction of racism on both sides; Palance hates whites as much as Heston hates Indians, and both have no compunction about killing those on the "other" side they've known for years simply as a matter of course. Palance and Heston are suitably intense in their roles--Heston perhaps a bit too much so--and the action scenes are handled very well, although the final confrontation between Heston and Palance is a bit of a disappointment. A good supporting cast of veteran western actors--Milburn Stone, James Anderson, Robert J. Wilke (not playing a villain for once), among others--contribute greatly to the film's pace and atmosphere (although the rivalry between Heston and army officer Brian Keith over a girl at the post is a bit superfluous). Well worth your time.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


The character "Ed Bannon" is partially based on Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts of the United States Army in the Southwest, according to the legend that appears at the end of the film, but there are several significant differences between Bannon and Sieber. The fictional Bannon was raised by Apache's but Sieber was born in Germany (in 1844) and raised in New York. Bannon has an antipathy toward Native Americans, especially Apaches, which Sieber did not. Ironically, according to those who knew him, he didn't particularly like whites and preferred the company of Native Americans. Sieber, a Civil War veteran, became chief of scouts for the U.S. Army at the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in 1870. He led the Apache scouts who helped to track down and capture Geronimo in Mexico, and reportedly survived 29 arrow and gunshot wounds during his life. In 1907, he was killed in an accident while working as the foreman of a Native American road-building crew. Sieber spoke German, English, Spanish, Apache and at least one other Native American language. He mentored Tom Horn who was also a scout for the army and became multi-lingual under Sieber's tutelage.


Ed Bannon: It's against the law for an Indian to drink.
Nita: I drink in Spanish.


There actually was a Ghost Dance movement, it was a religious revival of Native Americans in 1890, but it did not involve Apaches, who inhabited mainly the Southwest (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, etc.). It was popular among the Lakota (Sioux) of the Northern Plains.

Crazy Credits

Opening card: To the General of the armies: Regarding the subject of recommendation of the Congressional Award... and in my opinion this man -- in constant disregard of his personal feelings and (as Chief of Scouts) repeatedly risking his life that others may be saved -- deserves to have his name rank with Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, Wm. F Cody and others whose unselfish service to this country can never be forgotten. Respectfully, George Crook, Brig. General, U.S. Army, May 7, 1886.


Plot Summary


Drama | Romance | Western

Box Office

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