Directed by the hugely uncompromising Robert Aldrich, this ferocious post-Wild Bunch western stars Burt Lancaster as a world-weary army scout at odds with callow cavalry officer Bruce Davison on a mission to hunt down the errant Apache chief Ulzana, who with a small band of warriors has broken out of the reservation and are now looting, killing and raping their way across the bleak southwestern territories. Much tampered with by the studio on its original 1972 release and the subject of heated debate about its depiction of the Apaches, the film is in fact both complex and intelligent in its

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Ulzana’s Raid

Directed by the hugely uncompromising Robert Aldrich, this ferocious post-Wild Bunch western stars Burt Lancaster as a world-weary army scout at odds with callow cavalry officer Bruce Davison on a mission to hunt down the errant Apache chief Ulzana, who with a small band of warriors has broken out of the reservation and are now looting, killing and raping their way across the bleak southwestern territories.

Much tampered with by the studio on its original 1972 release and the subject of heated debate about its depiction of the Apaches, the film is in fact both complex and intelligent in its handling of the conflict it describes. Reacting to the saintly portraits of Indian life in films like Little Big Man, Aldrich and his scriptwriter Alan Sharpe are neither idealistic nor patronising, merely harshly realistic and painfully honest in their acknowledgement of the sheer savagery of frontier life, which has brutal parallels with the war America was then waging in Vietnam.