7 August 2004 | dinky-4
An unpolished gem
This movie captures one's attention from the start with Chuck Connors' opening line of narration: "Lt. Merriman was dead; the brains cooked out of his skull over an Apache torture fire." From this point on the movie proceeds in a taut, terse fashion which is a model of economical story-telling. True, it doesn't add up to much but it knows its limitations and works within them with commendable assurance. "Tomahawk Trail" would be a good movie to study in Film-Making 101.
Its faults are obvious but not fatal. The soldiers' US Cavalry uniforms should be soiled and sweaty and yet, too often, they seem to have just come from the Costume Shop. Also, the two female characters are unconvincing. Susan Cummings has been dropped into the plot simply to give Chuck Connors a pretty girl to kiss at the fade-out, and Lisa Montell makes a very unpersuasive Indian.
Chuck Connors, playing yet another of his "Mc" characters, is in his physical prime here and one regrets he's given no chance to do a "beefcake" scene.
The location work around Kanab, Utah, (using black-and-white photography), adds an air of authenticity. There's not a studio-bound shot in the whole movie.
Assuming your expectations aren't unrealistically high, you may well be pleasantly surprised by "Tomahawk Trail."