Was it Hate or Was it Pride?

Joel McCrea in Fort Massacre (1958)

Following an Apache ambush a cavalry platoon is left without their commander and with several men injured with Captain Vinson (Joel McCrea) having to assume command. But with the men in desperate need of water they must follow the Captain who seems hell bent on leading the men on a dangerous mission to take a watering hole from the Apaches. And then they have a choice, either keep going in hope of joining a larger cavalry column or come across the wagon train which the column is due to escort.

"Fort Massacre" is one of those westerns which is all about the man and in this case Captain Vinson who finds himself in command of a small platoon of thirsty and tired men. And the question we have when it comes to Vinson is what motivates him to push his men on in to various dangerous situations; is he mad, has some personal need for revenge, is it pride or is he actually doing what he thinks is right. And of course it is Vinson's actions which cause unrest in the platoon especially as some of his actions lead to further injuries and death.

Now I am sure "Fort Massacre" has its fans amongst those who enjoy westerns which focus on a man and his motivation but if that side of the movie doesn't grab you then this sadly ends up a pretty standard western oater. As such we have these desperate men seemingly lead by a man with questionable motives, encounters with Apaches and things get increasingly desperate as time passes especially when they come across a tumble down building built into a mountain side.

What this all boils down to is that whilst "Fort Massacre" might entertain those who enjoy a western lead by a character whose motives are not clear but for me it ended up an incredibly ordinary 1950s western which to be frank I was forgetting how the movie started before it had even ended.

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