I've been intrigued by the title of this 1970 Western for some time, so when I had a chance to pick it up new for just a buck, I thought I'd give it a try. I believe I'm due some change.
The film offers a quartet of villainous desperadoes on the hunt for gold, who brutalize an Indian family and expect the lone surviving squaw to deliver them to the goods. It's never made clear why a fifth member of the group, portrayed by Jody McCrae, is along for the ride. He's the only one who appears to have had a bath recently, and comports himself reasonably well, though he does little to mitigate the nasty behavior of his compadres. On the flip side, as he gets cozy with Apache squaw Jemme, (Marie Gahva), the boys generally give it no mind, like he wouldn't even think of double crossing them.
The first half of the film plods along rather slowly; the action what there is comes in the second half as an Apache brave picks up the trail of the evil-doers and prepares to exact revenge. His first victim gets the standard arrow in the back treatment, but then the Indian's inventiveness gets you to sit up and take notice. Benji (Don Henley) finds himself the subject of an upside down gravity drowning, screaming for his dying brother and his mama to help. Later, using the old snake in the bag over the head trick, another gang member meets his end. It seems to me though that "Two Card" Charlie must have died of fright; a close up of the snake shows it to be too narrow and without the markings of a rattler. The fate of Bible quoting Deacon (Jack Starrett) is not dealt with on screen, but his skeleton makes a cameo at the end of the movie.
One thing about the avenging Apache is intriguing; he's usually shown tracking the gang on entirely different terrain than the bad guys are traveling. For the most part, it appears that a desert setting prevails, but the Indian finds himself careening down rough river rapids, and winding through rocky mountain paths. The bad guys never encountered those obstacles.
You'll find veteran actor Joel McCrea's name top billed as a selling point for "Cry Blood, Apache", but don't be fooled. He's shown at the beginning and end of the film as an older and wiser version of the 'good' bad guy Pitcallin, contemplating sardonically on the events of his past life as shown in the movie. Somehow, his final wistful look seems to be saying he's glad it's over, the movie that is.
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