In this movie we get Rock Hudson playing Taza, the son of Cochise, which may make sense since Cochise is played by Jeff Chandler, reprising his role from "Broken Arrow". But it is 1875 and Cochise is dying. The peace treaty Cochise and general Howard signed three years before has brought peace. The movie opens with Cochise on his deathbed and he urges both his sons Taza and Naiche to follow the peace treaty with the "white eyes". He also asks them to hide his grave from the "white eyes." "Now Cochise begins his big sleep".
Naiche is not for following the way of peace. he wants Geronimo to return so he can follow him. The brothers fight and Taza comes out on top. For his trouble he also gets the girl, Oona. Naiche escapes and begins to run wild with the some other "bad" Indians. They attack and kill some young settlers and burn their wagon. Cochise is angry they have broken the peace and he pursues them. Cochise again takes his brother in to custody.
The cavalry comes out to investigate the killings and Taza tells them what happened. Taza says :"These are the evil ones". He has the "bad" Indians hanging up but the Captain wants to bring them back to camp. He tells Taza that they have broken the treaty and may have to remove to a new reservation. In taking the men, one of the Apaches is killed. Taza brings his men that night to Fort Apache and they free the captives and take the troops captive. General Crook then comes with his "soldier coats" and his men are quickly disarmed when they come in the fort.
Taza tells General Crook that it is not fair that his people be sent to a reservation because of the actions of six bad Indians. He agrees to go to the reservation if they are allowed to police themselves and General Crook agrees. At the reservations Taza dons the cavalry outfit and becomes a "good" Indian. Naiche and Grey Eagle, Oona father, are stunned when they see Taza in the army uniform. "First he leads us to this barren land and then he betrays us" : Gray Eagle says. Taza then duels with a warrior and kills him.
Geronimo is then captured and brought in to the reservation. Geronimo sees Taza and says "Better i be blind then see an Apache in a soldier coat." Taza answers: Geronimo has been blind to the ways of peace". Greyeagle then gives his daughter Oona to Naiche in marriage.
The drums then start beating and say that all Indians must get ready to fight against the soldiers. Geronimo has broken out and Taza wants to go out and catch him but the cavalry says they are going to do it.. Greyeagle and Geronimo get guns from a white trader and then kill him for his troubles.
General Crook leads the troops out. Taza also heads out with his men. When Geronimo ambushes the troops Taza rides in with his men to save the day. Geronimo probably says it correctly when he says: "He comes as a traitor." Taza then defeats Geronimo in a knife fight and Geronimo then meekly tells his men to throw down their weapons.
Interesting in being another movie that highlights a big star as an Indian. It is also interesting in being a very strong member of the genre of movie that says that the good Indians were the ones who fought for the white man and against their own people who still wanted to live free. In some eyes Taza can be viewed as the ultimate quisling.