Same Fort Different Name

He kills with a savage pleasure as there is nothing but hatred in his heart - Jonas

Peter Graves and John Hudson in Fort Yuma (1955)

When an Apache Chief and his son Mangas (Abel Fernandez) visit Fort Yuma the chief is murdered by an angry settler who hates Indians. Knowing full well that Mangas will be seeking revenge the Fort's commander tries to send a man to Fort Apache to warn them as under the command of Apache hating Lieutenant Ben Keegan (Peter Graves) a supply column is set to leave for Fort Yuma. But Mangas and his men catches the messenger and so Keegan and the supply column along with Melanie Crowne (Joan Vohs), a missionary, as well as Jonas (John Hudson), a scout who is an apache set out and in to danger. But events unfurl to make Keegan see what an idiot he has been when someone close to him dies and Mangas and his men having stolen the uniforms of dead soldiers are heading for Fort Yuma.

With over 140 credits to his name director Lesley Selander made a lot of westerns with a few war movies scattered amongst them. The thing is that whilst Selander was a more than capable director he did have a style which didn't change a great deal from one western to the next. As such I will admit that as I sat watching "Fort Yuma" I was questioning whether or not I had seen it before although frankly that was as much to do with the routine nature of the story as it was Selander's style.

Joan Vohs and Joan Taylor in Fort Yuma (1955)

Now in fairness "Fort Yuma" has a few entertaining twists from secret relationships to Mangas and his Apache braves disguising themselves in the uniforms of dead soldiers to attack Fort Yuma. But despite "Fort Yuma" only scraping in at 78 minutes there is a feeling of this being drawn out with many a scene involving Melanie feeling weak and uninteresting as she tries to make friends with Jonas and his sister. Feeling drawn out is not the only issue, a scene which involves the singing of a Christmas carol also feels strangely out of place and unnecessary although kind of beautiful as well.

What is for certain about "Fort Yuma" is that Selander certainly took advantage of his female cast's attractive nature and during the build up there are many a scene which focuses on both the looks of Joan Taylor and also Joan Vohs. And with this being one of those vibrantly coloured westerns from the mid 50s even the men stand out as being very handsome, although also far too clean to be realistic of men travelling across the dusty wilds.

What this all boils down to is that "Fort Yuma" is just another one of those mid 50s westerns which whilst still entertaining has nothing special about it to make it stand out from the crowd and become memorable.

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