by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Chuka (1967)

Jack   C+

IMDB    6.4

Tribe(s) : Arapaho

Language : English, Arapaho



   The movie open with Chuka (Rod Taylor) visiting and bringing some food into a winter Araphaho camp. He then sees a stage coach that is crashed. The Arapahos stop by, but when they see Chako they leave them alone. Chako helps them fix the wagon.

At dinner the drunk Col. Valois (John Mills) tells the ladies from the stagecoach that the Major is a cheat, and the Lieutenant is a coward who was responsible for the death of thirty six men. It seems all men here are being punished for something. The Colonel then picks on Chuka asking him how many men he has killed, but he doesn't take the bait. Then two Arapahos shoot in the room and kill the Captain.

The Colonel then wants Chuka to go out and scout for him. Chuka refuses and leaves the post with his gun drawn. On the way out Chuka and the sergeant (Ernest Borgnine) have a fist fight, and they earn each other's respect. Chuka decides to go out scouting and when he sees some Arapahos he shoots them. he's not so friendly anymore. He then sneaks up on their camp and finds a scout (James Whitmore) tied up. He frees him and they watch the Indians getting ready for battle using some dead soldiers for target practice.

The soldiers get ready for the Indian attack. Chuka pleads with the Colonel to leave the fort but he is desperate to prove his bravery, even if it means dying. He was branded a coward and kicked out of the British army for being drunk during an attack. But Chuka is in love with a woman from the past who was on the stage and he wants out.

The Arapahos finally attack. The colonel gets killed. Chuka's girlfriend gets killed (why was she standing outside?). Chuka gets a spear through his side but he pulls it out. The sergeant gets killed. The Arapahos storm the fort. The chief sees Chuka and a girl, but he lets him live.

A really good caste with Rod Taylor, John Mills, Ernest Borgnine, and James Whitmore but the movie is only fair. The bad writing, bad music and a movie that tried to be too much. It tried to be a Western, a love story and a psychological drama about everyone's past. It didn't really work as any of them. Should have been much better.