John Ford directed this movie about how wars make heroes out of stubborn commanding officers. The decisions made by Lt Col Thursday leave an indelible impression. Unhappy to be at Fort Apache to begin with, he gains control of his command by making some subordinates bend to his orders, rather than him bending to their advice. Poor Miss Thursday gets caught up in the crossfire between her father and others.
Shirley Temple, at this time a twenty-year-old new mom, played a very loving Philadelphia Thursday. John Agar, who married Shirley Temple in 1945, played 2nd Lt Michael Shannon O’Rourke. What a coincidence to see them paired up on film.
John Wayne and Henry Fonda were often in John Ford movies. In this one, they play against each other with Fonda taking the role of the arrogant and unteachable Lt Col Owen Thursday. Both actors gave emotional performances that made the story of a self-destructive leader watchable.
Ward Bond was Sgt Maj Michael O’Rourke. Bond started acting because he used to play football with John Wayne. He was in some John Wayne movies, some Henry Fonda movies, and was often directed by John Ford. He was a supporting actor in many well-known movies like Gone With The Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, The Maltese Falcon, and Mister Roberts.