Fort Apache ★★★½ 1948
The first of director Ford's celebrated cavalry trilogy, in which fanatical Lt. Col. Owen Thursday (a decidely unsympathetic Fonda) leads his reluctant men to an eventual slaughter when he battles Apache chief Cochise (Inclan), recalling George Custer at Little Big Horn. Wayne is his seasoned second-in-command Kirby Yorke, who's unable to prevent what occurs. In residence: Ford hallmarks of spectacular landscapes and stirring action, as well as many vignettes of life at a remote outpost. Don't forget to catch “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” and “Rio Grande,” the next films in the series. 125m/B VHS, DVD . Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Shirley Temple, John Agar, Pedro Armendariz Sr., Victor McLaglen, Ward Bond, Anna Lee, Guy Kibbee, Miguel Incian, Mae Marsh; D: John Ford; W: Frank Nugent; C: Archie Stout; M: Richard Hageman.