Duel at Diablo (1966) - full transcript

Lieutenant McAllister is ordered to transport several ammunition wagons to another fort through Apache territory with only a small troop of rookie soldiers to guard them. Along for the ride is ex-scout Jess Remsberg who is trying to track down Ellen Grange, who, having recently been freed from Apache captivity, has mysteriously run off again to rejoin them. Remsberg frees Ellen again and leaves her with the embattled soldiers as he rides off to the fort, not only for help, but to find the man who killed and scalped his Indian wife.

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Get down, damn it!

I'm no Apache.

Leave me be.

Where are you from?


That's where I'm headed.
I'll get you home.

No. I've got to go to him. He needs me.

There's nothing but Apaches for 60 miles
between here and Fort Creel.

The Apaches won't hurt me.

Mommy! Mommy!




Good afternoon. What can I do for you?


Did you find her?

- Where's the horse she was riding?
- Dead.

That's too bad.

- Take care of my horse.
- Where'd you find Mrs Grange?

Give him plenty of feed and water.
He needs it. And rub him down too.

- Hello, Harrington.
- Jess Remsberg.

- I see they've made you corporal again.
- Yeah, twice.

- Say, it's been a long time since...
- Yeah, yeah. It's been a long time.

- Is Scotty McAllister out at the fort?
- Yeah. Did you hear he made lieutenant?

- Tell him I'm in here, will you?
- Sure.

Well, look at 'em out there.

Watching, waiting to see
how I'm going to take it.

Laughing behind my back.

When they brought you back the first time
I tried to treat you decent.

This time the Apaches
didn't take you away, you ran away.

My horse is dead and you're back.
Should be the other way around.

Stop it, Ellen.

Stop that.

Please. Oh, please.

Please, I'm sorry.
I didn't mean that. I didn't.

I'm sorry, Will. I'm sorry
I was brought back to shame you.

I don't like the way I feel.
I hate myself for it.

- You know how I loved you.
- You were always good to me.

When Chata's band took you
I just near went out of my head.

I hunted for you for a whole year
until I figured they'd killed you.

Then suddenly you were back
and I wanted us to start over.

- There's something that happened to me.
- I don't want to hear what happened!

I don't want to know anything about it.

It's bad enough just thinking about you
and them Apaches all the time.

I had to go back to them.
That's what I'm trying to tell you.

You liked living with savages?

- You don't understand.
- No, I don't understand.

Lots of white women
have been grabbed by Indians.

Any decent one would have killed herself
before she let 'em turn her into a squaw.

- I'm not that decent, I guess.
- Don't shout. They'll hear you.

You don't care what happens to me.
Only what people think about you.

- I do business with them people.
- The people who treat your wife like dirt.

I was better off with the Indians.

- Maybe that's where you belong.
- I don't belong here any more.

Maybe you don't.

At a trot, ho!

- Keep in line there.
- At a gallop, ho!

- Back into line.
- Left about, ho!

- No!
- Get back into one line, damn it.

- Gather round that flag.
- Sergeant Ferguson.

That was the worst exhibition...

I know, but most of
these horses aren't saddle-broke.

Half your men don't know
one end of a horse from the other.

Come on now, move it into line.

- Lieutenant?
- What is it, Corporal?

- Jess Remsberg is in town, sir.
- Jess?

- How does he look?
- He still ain't over it.

- Where is he?
- The saloon, sir.

- Harrington, lend the sergeant a hand.
- Yes, sir.

You keep those men polishing the seats
of their pants until they can do that turn.

- We leave for Concho in two days.
- All right, we're going to try it once more.

Forward at a gallop, ho!



I've got a wagon load of goods
for Fort Concho.

I'd appreciate it if I could
tag along with your troop.


I've got a right to army protection.

If I take you along, you do. But I'm not.

My, you sure do look pretty
in that new uniform.

- Lieutenant...
- Grange.

This trip's going to be rough enough
without dragging along extra freight.


I hear you found Ellen Grange on the way.

Her husband didn't seem
too anxious to get her back.

- Tom Van scouting for you?
- Aye.

I sent him to Mexico to check how many
more warriors have joined Chata's force.

I found him 60 miles south,
where I picked up Mrs Grange.

I'd say he was two days dying,

Then Chata's already across the border,
slaughtering anyone they've run across.

Not without reason, Scotty.

The Apaches were holed up on
that hellhole reservation at San Carlos.

- Tricked, lied to, murdered...
- It cuts both ways, Jess.

Bad enough when a man like
Tom Van ends the way he did.

When you find women
and children dead like that...

- I've got to tell Major Novac about Van.
- Wait a minute.

You sent me a message. I'm here.


That's a pretty nice scalp
you got there, mister.

I know where an Indian scalp like that
would bring a pretty good price.

How much you want for it?

- What was that?
- He was going to kill you, Toiler.

All I did was ask what he wanted
for the Indian scalp.

This Indian was his wife.

- What happened?
- I hit you.

It's a good thing you did.

Where is it, Scotty?

- Where'd you get it?
- Fort Concho.

From the town marshal.
New man. Clay Dean.

Clay Dean?

Aye. Killer for hire, wearing a badge.
You know the type.

Thanks, Scotty.

- Dean may not be the man.
- If he's not, he'll tell me.

The man who caught my wife alone
is going to pay, and not just by dying.

Stop it! Apaches take revenge that way.
No civilized man...

That was no Apache that scalped my wife.
That was one of your civilized men!

We're heading for Fort Concho in a couple
of days. I want you to come along.

You just want to be with me
when I catch this man Dean.

You figure I'll let him die
quick and easy if you're there.

With Tom Van gone, I need a scout.


I've two wagon loads of ammunition
and 25 green troopers.

Colonel Foster needs them
in Fort Concho.

What are you bucking for?

I can't afford any mistakes on my record.
I'm going to be a general some day.

I don't remember you being
so damned ambitious.

I'm getting married when I get to Concho.

Sergeant Neabamer's daughter.

She'll give you hell if I don't get there.

I guess a week or so
won't make any difference.

We ought to bury that, Jess.

After I find the man that took it off her.

Tell the major he'll have to wait. I got
some unfinished business to take care of.

McAllister said you wanted to kill me.
I don't much like that idea.

I'd rather get it over with now
if the thought"; still in your mind.

It's not.

- Are you quite sure?
- I said so.

Then I apologise. I'm sorry, I didn't know.

I know you didn't.

- Let her go.
- Like hell. She tried to steal our horses.

She ought to be put in jail.

We won't let her go till she's nice to us,
like she was to those Apaches.

She shouldn't mind us
after pleasuring Chata's son.

I said let her go.


I didn't lay a finger on you.
I was just going to tell her husband.

- You won't tell her husband anything.
- All right, I won't. I swear.

I like changing odds.
Two to one seemed more of an even bet.

So you saved me again, Mr Remsberg.

This time you saved my honor.

Only now you know
there is none left to save.

- You sound like I ought to apologise.
- I didn't ask you to bring me back here.

If the Apaches had taken you captive...

At least they didn't spit
when I walked past.

- People here treat me like a...
- I know.

I had a Comanche wife.

Well, that's different.

No one thinks it wrong for a man. As long
as he leaves her behind when he goes.

I said she was my wife.

I know how they look at you.
I know how they treat you.

One of them finally killed my wife.

Come on. Better get you home.

I can understand
why you'd want to run away.

But there's something
you ought to think about.

If you go back to Chata's band,

his son Nachee'll most likely kill you
for running away from him.

I didn't run away.
I was taken away, unconscious.

Our brave soldiers hit the Apache camp
while the men were out hunting.

The trooper who gave me this almost
killed me before he saw my blonde hair.

- If I were your husband...
- You are not my husband.

They all think any decent woman would
rather die than live as an Apache squaw.

- Maybe they're right.
- Death comes soon enough.

Anybody that hurries it is a damn fool.

What I was trying to say is...
what's over is done.

You two could go someplace where
nobody knows what happened to you.

My husband would know.

Thanks, Major.

- I appreciate your cooperation.
- It's my pleasure, Mr Grange.

Have a seat, Sergeant.

If that was a hint you want me
back in the army, no thanks.

Toiler, Chata may have already
started north across the border.

You know what that means.

Well, as far as my re-enlisting
is concerned, no chance, Major.

The army owes me for 40 horses I spent
the last four months hunting and breaking.

I'm planning on investing my stakes
in a gambling saloon.

No more army for me, Major.

Sir, Grange claims you've allowed him
to accompany me to Fort Concho.

The army has to cooperate with traders.
He's been most helpful to us.

Yes, sir. But with all-green troopers
and only two days before we head out...

You don't have those two days.
You'll be starting for Fort Concho at dawn.

Sir, I need time to whip those raw recruits
into some kind of shape.

And half Toiler's horses
aren't saddle-broke.

Then he will have to finish breaking them
on the way to Fort Concho.

Hold it. My contract calls for delivery of
fresh mounts and I've delivered them.

Your contract calls for
delivery of saddle-broke horses.

It ain't my fault he's got to move out early.

- If I could have one more day...
- You have your orders.

- Yes, sir.
- Not with me he don't.


You can have your money
for the 20 broken mustangs.

But to get paid for the rest,
you'll have to go with McAllister.

For every horse you break in on the way,
Colonel Foster will pay you in Concho.

The men I hired to help catch
those mustangs are gone.

The clothes I lived in
for four months I burned.

And I didn't buy this new outfit to eat
no trail dust in. This is a swindle.

- Be careful, Toiler.
- You shut up, McAllister.

You don't scare me none.

- And you sure can't pull no rank on me.
- Toiler, I'm sorry.

- But that's the way it will have to be.
- Hurry it up, Toiler.

You might manage to break
another horse or two before dawn.

You enjoy seeing me on a horn,
don't you, McAllister?

You were a pretty good sergeant once.

But to me you're just another
money-hungry civilian.

You used to be a pretty
good sergeant yourself.

But now you're just a...

a rank officer.

I'll be back, Major.

Company, attention!

Line up in columns of two.
Dress right on the flag.

Open her up.


- Grange?
- Yeah.

You might not be able to get any kind
of an escort back here for weeks.

It might not be too good an idea
leaving your wife here alone all that time.

What makes it your business? Hm?

It makes no difference. She stole two
horses and disappeared again last night.

- Did you report it?
- No, why should I?

They could have sent somebody after her.

If she wants to go, she can go.
Straight to hell, for all I care.

Sergeant, mount up.

- Prepare m mount


Scotty, I'll be riding out on my own.
I'll pick you up in a couple of days.

Remember, you're no use to me
hung up like Tom Van.

Yes, Mother. I'll need a spare horse
in case I have to make some time.

- Toiler!
- I want a receipt.

Drop that gauntlet, trooper.
Pull yourself up, lad.

Look proud, all of you.

- Move 'em out, Sergeant.
- Yes, sir.

Lead off to the left, a column of twos.

Forward, ho!

- Sergeant, present arms.
- Company, present arms.

It is your doing Nachee is dead.
White-eyed trappers took him alive.

They beat him to death with a whip.

- I didn't want him dead.
- You white-eyes want us all dead.

But when I die it will not be
as tame reservation Indian.

I will die Apache, killing my enemies.


Kaeta? Where is Kaeta?


The boy is your son.
You can care for him while you live.

Nachee's body lies in
Mogollon Mountains.

You will live until we come there.

- You're going to kill me?
- No.

You will be alive when I bury you
in the grave of my son.

Hold it!

Come on!

Sir, there's a rider
coming in from the south.

Rub him down while he's feeding.

- You've been pushing hard.
- I didn't want to come in after dark.

One of your rookies might have
mistaken me for an Apache. Thank you.

- Got anything for me?
- I got a good look at Chata.

- You stretch your luck pretty thin.
- He's got about 45 armed men.

He's on the move, his whole camp.
Women and kids.

Including your wife, Grange.

- Where's Chata headed?
- Mogollon Range'd be my hunch.

He's got to set up a permanent camp
before he can put on any war paint.

- If we could catch him by surprise...
- Scotty, he's got almost 50 fighting men.

You got 29 including me,
Toiler and Grange.

We could hold Chata in place long enough
for reinforcements to arrive from Concho.

Just hold on a minute, Lieutenant.

- You ain't aiming to tangle with Chata?
- If you're going to eavesdrop, keep quiet.

I put out a lot of money for that wagon.
I want to get it to Concho.

If you're so anxious to get to Concho,
just hoist your butt on that wagon and go.

What do you think I am, crazy?

Corporal Harrington.

- Are you busting with things to say, too?
- I don't like it either.

But you're the cock-a-doodle-doo here,
so I'm stuck.


I just finished busting you
another gut-twister. Mark it.

Yes, sir?

You'll carry a dispatch
to Colonel Foster at Fort Concho.

And don't stop on the way.

- Not to eat, not to sleep. Understand?
- Yes, sir.

Pick him out the two
fastest mounts we've got.

And in future, when I'm having a private
conversation, keep the hell away from me.

Like right now.

Jess, get a meal under your belt,
then ride out and keep track of Chata.

That'll leave you without a scout.
Chata could find you before I find him.

I'll take care of myself.
You take care of yourself.

There's a man in Concho
I gotta see before I die.

- Grange.
- Yeah?

If we should tangle with Chata...

he'll have to leave his families unguarded.

There's a chance we could get to
your wife and get her out.

Well, she's where she wants to be.

So let her be.

Mrs Grange! Ellen Grange!

Mrs Grange!

What the...?

Get your pencil ready.

- Are horses all you worry about?
- Yeah.

I got ten more to bust
then my worries are over.

- You could still lose your skin out here.
- Not if I can help it.

Sir. There's fresh pony tracks leading
across our trail into that canyon.

Well, soldier boy,
you found your Apaches.

- Do we proceed, sir?
- We'll advance at the ready.

Yes, sir.

Toiler. You remember
the Ojo Caliente fight.

You got an arrow in your backside
and I pulled you to cover.

- I remember.
- I have to lead the column.

And somebody's got to find out
if Chata's up there.

- And if I get killed you'll know.
- That's right.

I see.

Hold your fire. Reform in twos.

Come on. You ain't paid for yet.

Get those wagons to the rocks.

Form a company front behind the wagons.
And do that about-turn.

- Let's get you mounted.
- Leave me be.

Don't give me no orders, McAllister.
Come on.

O'Brien, company front
behind the wagons.

About turn!


About turn!

Your leg's broke.

I know.

Sir, there's 16 dead. Some more men
are hurt so bad they can't be of much use.

- And the cookwagon's lost.
- I know, Sergeant.

- All our grub.
- The water. I know, Sergeant!

- Chata's got us pinned down.
- As long as he keeps us pinned down

till Colonel Foster shows up,
it'll have been worth it.

- Won't it, Sergeant?
- Yes, sir.

Tell the men that the water
they've got in their canteen

will have to last them
until the reinforcements arrive.

Any man who uses his up
will just have to drink his own sweat.

- Yes, sir.
- And, Sergeant.

- Fine job for your first Apache fight.
- Thank you, sir.

Well, find shade for the wounded and see
that everything"; clone that can be clone.

Yes, sir.

The worst casualty is that cook wagon.

Chata dealt the cards, played us
and took the first hand cold.

I've still got an ace card up my sleeve.

- Harrington?
- Aye.

Don't look. Look the other way.

It's Corporal Harrington.

Let's go.

That's where Scotty is. We gotta get to
those rocks before Chata can cut us off.

When I give you the word,
get going full out. it'll take the boy.

You both got a better chance
of making it if I take him.

What are you doing?

Chata won't risk his men
shooting his own grandson.


Lieutenant. Look.

Prepare to fire!


Gimme here. You're scaring the kid.



You're standing up now.
Yes, you're standing up.

What did you bring that here for?

"That" is her son.


Sorry, ma'am, I didn't mean to...

Scotty, Harrington didn't make it.

He was tortured before he died and
probably told Chata everything he knew.

So Chata knows I'm waiting here
for reinforcements that won't arrive.

He also knows what's in those wagons.
He wants that ammunition. And the glory.

And he gets both by wiping us out.

Which makes him bigger
than ever with the Apaches.


We've got to break out and find water.


There's only two places
between here and Concho.

One of them's where Chata left his
families, 20 miles inside those hills.

With those wagons
you'll never outrun him.

- And the other place?
- Diablo Canyon.

Just a half a mile
from where Chata's sitting.

But Diablo is a box canyon.
There's only one way in.

I spotted four or five Apaches there.
That's all he'll need to hold you up.

Well, what's next... General?

- How old is he, ma'am?
- Four months.

He don't favour his mother, that's for sure.

Is that yours?

- Yes.
- You didn't tell me that...

- Why?
- After the way you acted?

So you ran off the first chance you got
to get back to this... half-breed bastard.

- Come off it, Grange.
- You stay out of this.

- That's just a little baby.
- You keep your mouth shut!

You were saying?

Pick it up.

- Be careful, Grange.
- I told you to pick it up.

You got another one in your holster.
Use that one. Or backwater.

You two can play games some other time.
Right now we can't spare either of you.

You ought to play poker, Grange.
You got natural luck.

Lieutenant McAllister
would like to see you two.

Look. We set out at dark
with the wagons for Concho.

Chata's not likely to follow us till he's sure
we're not feinting him out of the canyon.

He'll just scout us, knowing he can
catch us easy enough when he's ready.

After a couple of hours,
we'll shift direction.

Strike straight for
where he's left his families.

The scouts will race back to report it.

Chata will have to come out to stop us.

But by then,
I'll have changed direction again.

Circling back to Diablo Canyon.

Getting there before Chata
realizes what's happened.

You might make general one day.

Except he'll probably leave some men in
the entrance to that canyon. Just in case.

That's something you'll have to take care
of before you set out for Concho.

You and the four best men I've got left.

- Toiler?
- He's not under my orders.

But I'm thirsty, too.
And I'm getting thirstier.

Troopers, mount up. We're moving out.

Dress on the wagons.

It's time now, Mrs Grange.

- Help me mount.
- Are you sure you're able?

- Sergeant, I give the orders.
- Yes, sir.



As far as I'm concerned,
the job's done when you report to Concho.

Clay Dean's there.

I'll not take it bad
if you don't return with Colonel Foster.

- Scotty.
- Aye?

Keep an eye on Ellen Grange and her boy.

You've got no luck, Jess.

She's already married.

Welcome to your gory bed - or to victory.

Been over two hours. McAllister
must have made his first move by now.

Now we start straight for the hills.
And Chata's families.

It's a scout reporting back to Chata.

- How many?
- I couldn't count.

They couldn't have left too many behind.

Turn back to the canyon.
We've got to get there by dawn.


It's almost dawn.

If we keep on like this,
these animals will die.

We'll all be dead if we don't.

Move those wagons faster.


Bugler, sound the charge.

Make way for the wagons.

Bugler, sound the charge.

Swanson, sound the charge.

Welcome to the water hole, General.

- Where's Jess? Is he all right?
- He's on his way to Concho.

Get the survivors back to the water hole.
Start with Mrs Grange.

And Mrs Grange...

you stay there.

Did Jess get away?

Yes, except two of Chata's outriders
followed him and got some shots at him.

- Sergeant Ferguson.
- Yes, sir.

Get the men lined up for inspection. Tell
Major Novac we're heading for Concho.

- We only got just 11 men left.
- Get him back to the water hole.

Guard the entrance to the canyon with...


And position the two best marksmen
we've got left on top of the mesa.

Try and get snipers up there.

Mr Toiler, I understand you fought
through a few of these Indian campaigns.

- A few.
- Look, I'm a damn good sergeant, see?

But I never fought no Indians before.

I never even been west of St Louis
till T brought out this bunch of recruits.

Get those horses back to the water.
They earned it.

And get one ammo wagon
all the way back to the water

so we can use it for a last stand.

Maybe we can hold out
until Colonel Foster gets here.

- Suppose Remsberg gets caught.
- Remsberg ain't Harrington.

I don't much like the idea of
blowing up all this ammunition.

Let's hope we don't have to.
Casey! Nyles!

Let's get you inside so you can
watch this whole rim up here.

If I was Chata I'd call it quits.

Anybody see where that come from?

Scatter. We're too exposed.

They're out of ammunition.

Chata's taking no chances. A stray
bullet would hit that ammunition wagon.

The lieutenant seems to be resting easier.

Fever's down. He'll be all right.

You must love that kid an awful lot
to do what you did.

He's my child.

I wish... that I'd taken it different.

I want you to know that, Ellen, because
we're not going to get out of here.

Maybe if...

Maybe if we'd had a kid,
things would have been different.

You were a good husband, Will.
Before the Apaches took me.

But you never would have been again.


You'll need this
when they get in here at us.

There's two cartridges in it.

- Toiler.
- Sergeant.

- Sir. They're getting ready for something.
- Let's have a look.

My Wagon.

They're using it for cover. Sergeant!

Hold your fire until you see
something to shoot at.


Hold your fire until you can see
the legs of those ponies.

Get ready to fire.


Casey, Nyles, cover us.
We're coming back.

One got back inside here.

Get going-

Grange, get going.

Get down.

- Did you finish that big meal already?
- Colonel, is Clay Dean in town?

The marshal? I suppose so.

Unless he's off celebrating.
He killed a man last night.

- We'll be ready to pull out in five minutes.
- I'll catch up with you.

- Mount up.
- Prepare to mount.

- We have to move back further.
- They'll all be slipping back in here now.

We're pulling back. Get moving.

Hold it.

- Anybody seen Grange?
- Grange?




Who's that?

Jess Remsberg.

Who the hell is Jess Remsberg?

Scout for Colonel Foster's fort.

All right.

What do you want?

- You Clay Dean?
- Yeah.

I need some information.

- It's important.
- Better be important to me.


Where'd you get that?

- I won it in a poker game.
- Who did you win it from?

. Why?
. who?

First you tell me why you want to know.

- She was my wife.
- Oh.

So that's it, huh? No, you're not
going to find out about him from me.

I might tell him about you, though.

He did you a favour, mister.

I ain't got nothing against a man bedding
down with a pretty young Indian girl.

- But calling her your wife...
- Tell me who you won it from.

You can leave here now, squaw man.
And leave your gun belt.

Take off the gun.

Or use it.

Now tell me who you won her hair from.

- If I do?
- If you do, you go on living.

You got yourself a name
as a bad man with a gun.

Maybe you're thinking you can tell me
any name and later come gunning for me.

No, I...

Well, now you know.
You're not fast any more.

You give me the wrong name
and I'll come back and finish the job.

Now, who?

He needed $10 to see my hand.

Grange put up the scalp for it.
He was drunk and...

- Who did you say?
- Grange. A freighter. Will Grange.

He was telling how he'd revenged his wife
on this Comanche girl he'd caught.

They're inside the perimeter.
Get against the walls.

- Get back.
- He's alive.


- They're killing him.
- Not yet.

It's an old trick.

They saved him for this.
To work on our nerves.

Oh, God.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,

now and in the hour of our death.

Ferguson, it is time to collect that dry
brush and get it under that ammo wagon.

If they rush us,
that wagon better burn fast.

Mrs Grange.

Somebody's got to kill him.
Put an end to what they're doing.

Mrs Grange...

Give me your gun and get down.


All up to you now, Toiler.
Don't let them get the ammunition.

Chata won't get that ammunition.
Even if he wipes us out.

And he's lost too many men
against a force half his size.

- You did it.
- No.

- I killed most of my men.
- Chata had to be stopped and you did it.

That's what the army's
out here to do, ain't it?

- Is it?
- Yes.




You tell them that...

- You're sure this is what you want to do?
- I don't want him to die.

- Chata will take care of him.
- He'll raise him as an Apache.

My people would never raise him
as one of their own.

They're getting ready for the Kill.
We'd better get back to that wagon.

Now, Mrs Grange.

Mrs Grange, now.

They're coming. All of them.

If they get me, you fire this wagon.

Company, halt.


- Ellen.
- Let me go to Will.

- Where is he?
- Let me go to him, please.

You stay here. I'll find him.

Kill me.

Help. Please.

Please. Kill me.

Now. Please. Kill me.


I wonder if they'll stay
on the reservation this time.

Why should they?

Company, forward. Turn, ho!

Forward, ho!