This film demonstrates Richard Widmark at his peak best. A haunting theme tune, sadly not released on it's own merit, plays throughout the film, greatly adding to the tense and violent as well as gentle and tender moments.
Clearly at home in the big outdoors, Widmark gives a superb performance as Commanche Todd - a 'renegade killer' who was captured as a boy and brought up as the son of a Commanche chief.
Later in the film we learn that when his young Indian wife and two sons were brutally killed by four Harper brothers he set out to kill them all. Todd suceeds in killing three of the brothers, but then, suffering from days of thirst and heat exhaustion he is captured by the fourth - Bull Harper. They join up with wagon train heading West, and here the story really begins.
Using his ability to say as much by facial expression and body language as he does via the script, Widmark convincingly leads the young wagon train survivors of an Apache attack, through the arid, hazardous Canyon of Death safely back to civilisation.
On the way, hatred shown to him by some of the youngsters, because of his Indian upbringing, gradually turns to respect as he steers them through the dangers. Equally the humanity shown to him by Jenny (Felicia Farr)and young brother Tommy(Tommy Rettig)turns to love.
If you are a Widmark fan, this film is not to be missed. Or, if you just like an entertaining western with fabulous scenery, a good story and a happy ending, then again - don't miss it.