Deserter, The; Ride to Glory

2667. THE DESERTER (Ride To Glory) (1970-ltaly-Yugoslavia) COLOR. With BEKIM FEHMIU, RICHARD CRENNA, CHUCK CONNORS, RICARDO MONTALBAN, IAN BANNEN, BRANDON DE WILDE, SLIM PICKENS, WOODY STRODE, ALBERT SALMI, PAT WAYNE, JOHN HUSTON. What a cast! What a movie! Handsome Bekim Fehmiu stars as Captain Victor Caleb, a cavalry officer who had served with the Union forces during the Civil War and was decorated for gallantry at Shiloh and Vicksburg. The story opens with Caleb in the company of cavalry scouts Natchai and Tattinger, his two trusted friends. The trio comes upon a grisly scene: the ritualized butchering of Caleb’s wife at the hands of a band of brutal Apaches. Caleb goes off by himself to exact revenge. Upon returning to his fort, he is reprimanded by the pompous Colonel Brown, his by-the-book superior officer. After shooting and wounding Brown, Caleb deserts the army and heads off alone into the wilderness. Enter the crusty General Miles (colorfully played by John Huston), who is incensed that the cavalry has been ineffectual in thwarting the Apaches. He proposes a radical plan: Send an elite and specially trained unit of soldiers across the Mexican border to the location where the Apaches reportedly are building a powerful force. Miles is convinced that Caleb is the only man capable of training and leading such a squadron. General Miles says, “I need a man like youÑ a man with enough hate in him to spend two years killing Apaches.” Caleb sets out to transform the men recruited for the unit into “savages” so that they will be best equipped to fight the Apaches. The group is comprised of a diverse lot. Among them are an ornery sergeant who despises the deserter; a chaplain who is the best dynamite man in the army; a British officer who is studying American military strategy; and several misfits and oddballs who are enlisted from the guard house. Will he accomplish this goal? Or will the result end up being something else altogether? Find out as this rip-roaring Western drama heads to its action-packed conclusion. 91 minutes. Western