USA Today - 12/23/1993
"...John Sturges' first notable Western....[With] a nifty Civil War hook..."
William Holden stars as tough Union calvary officer Capt. Roper, who commands a POW garrison at Fort Bravo in the Arizona Territory during the Civil War. Roper, who rules his demesnes with an iron hand, is famous for never allowing a prisoner to escape, a tribute both to his obsessive professionalism and to the inhospitable landscape surrounding the fort. As a result, his own troops hate him nearly as much as the prisoners do. Adding to his problems are the vicious Mescalero Indians roaming the land that was once theirs. Roper, then, is not the most joyful of men. But when the distracting Carla Forrester (Eleanor Parker) arrives at the garrison, his mood seems to change perceptibly. While he's still narcotized by her charms, a group of prisoners decide to take advantage of his relaxed vigilance and make a break, without having factored the local Indians into the equation. Roper, even more angry than usual after realizing he's been set up, lights out after the Confederate fugitives. Holden is perfectly cast as the surly Yankee, and the desert shots of the estimable Robert Surtees are beautifully composed.
This Civil War-era Western bristles with action and deadly suspense. William Holden plays a tough Union cavalry officer at odds with both a band of restless Confederate prisoners and deadly Mescalero Indians.
Shooting location: Death Valley, California, and New Mexico.
This was the first MGM film to be shot in the widescreen aspect ratio.