Walk the Proud Land, a movie starring Audie Murphy, VHS version
Five out of five stars
In this movie, Audie Murphy once again plays the role that he was typecast in, a man with a high moral sense of right and wrong placed in a very difficult position. He plays John Clum, a man that dramatically altered the life of the Apaches living on the San Carlos Reservation. Frustrated with the exploitation of the Native Americans under the Indian agents that were often exploitative, President Grant turned to religious groups in an attempt to find agents that would serve the Native Americans rather than simply line their own pockets.
Before Clum arrived on the San Carlos Reservation, conditions were brutal, supplies designated for the inhabitants were stolen and sold for profit and the Apaches were occasionally tortured or killed by the occupying soldiers of the U. S. Army.
Shortly after arriving, Clum instituted a system of tribal policing and self-government, leading to a relative level of peace. He even managed to capture the ferocious Geronimo and his warriors without a shot being fired. Unfortunately, Clum turned out to be too successful in bringing peace and after being thwarted by officers in the army and agents looking for profit as well as uncaring officials in the Indian Bureau Administration, Clum resigned his position. After that the wars between the Native Americans and the whites restarted and continued for another nine years, until the final surrender of Geronimo.
To a large extent, this movie accurately portrays the years of Clum on the San Carlos Reservation and the positive changes that he implemented. The true level of opposition that Clum faced is tamped down quite a bit. Murphy is the perfect person to play the principled Clum and in a role unusual for Murphy, he does not carry or use a gun. Unfortunately, the movie ends on a more optimistic note than the way the actual events unraveled.