by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Geronimo (1993)

Jack   A-

IMDB    6.2

Tribe(s) : Apache

Language : English, Apache



   This TNT TV movie came out the same month as Geronimo : An American Legend was released in theaters. The movie seems to feature mostly native Americans in the native roles. Joseph Runningfox plays Geronimo and August Schellenberg plays Cochise.

   The movie opens with Mexican soldiers chasing Geronimo and then quickly switches to an older Geronimo being taken in to a hotel. He gets five dollars for an autograph and then he is riding in a parade. His nephew comes to visit him in the hotel. He started telling his nephew about the past.

   As a young man he was known as Goyathlay. He meets Cochise who is an older tribal leader. He courts a young girl and the father says that he wants eight horses for her, and Geronimo says he will bring sixteen. Geronimo is poor, but he goes out on a raid by himself to get them. When he brought the horses back he made a name for himself and also got a wife.

   They moved south to Mexico in the winters. In 1860 Mexican troops attacked the Apache camp while the men were away trading in town. They shot down the women and children. When Geronimo and the men came back Geronimo found that his mother, wife and three young children were all killed.

   Geronimo went to the mountains and a spirit told him that bullets could not hurt him. The Apaches then go on a raid and Geronimo is out for revenge and leads the Apaches. They attack some Mexican troops and slaughter them on San Geronimo's Day. After the battle Goyathlay became known as Geronimo. Geronimo and his men killed any white men they could find.

   Geronimo decided to take a wife again and things begin to return to normal. White men begin searching the land for gold. Cochise went to a peace meeting but they tried to capture him. He escaped but they hung his two brothers.

   The army attacks the camp and again slaughter the women and children. In the nest ten years they continued to fight the whites. Then Cochise decided to talk to the whites. All the other tribes except the Chiricahuas had been defeated. Cochise has decided to accept the peace and Geronimo says he will do the best he can to keep the peace. When Cochise died, the army took away the Chiricahuas land and moved them to another reservation.

  The agency cheated the Chiricahuas. It took their land, stole their supplies and gave them land that couldn't be farmed. Being on the reservation was like being in jail.

   We flash back to the older Geronimo who meets President Roosevelt. He tells the president he isn't from Oklahoma, as had been announced, but is from the mountains of Arizona, and is now just a prisoner in Oklahoma. He tells the President of the wrongs that had been done to him and his people. Teddy Roosevelt said as Geronimo is led off: "The irony is I would have done exactly the same as he."

      So the question comes up, which is the best Geronimo movie: Geronimo : An American Legend (1993), Geronimo (1962) or this movie? I think it was this movie. The other two were interested in exploring the legend of Geronimo, while this one was interested in exploring the real Geronimo. It showed what drove him to become what he became. Anyone watching the movie would have to sympathetic to the plight of the Apaches after watching it.