Charlton Heston stars as Ed Bannon in a role the NRA would be proud of. Ed has a fierce hatred for the Apache Indian which dates as far back as his childhood. The movie starts out with Ed killing some go-between Indians who come in peace to relay a message that the tribe is surrendering. Ed belongs to the US Army and is kicked out for the aforementioned action by Captain Bill North, played by Brian Keith. Keith does a great job in his role, at times sounding like John Wayne but never carrying it out quite as coolly or confidently.
Captain North and his men are tasked with taking the Apaches to an Indian reservation in Florida. However, it's not going to be so easy thanks to Apache Toriano, played by Jack Palance. The Captain thinks he and his men can pull off this feat without much trouble, but can they, without help from Bannon? After all, he's lived with the Apache and knows how they think.
This film doesn't really have any good nor bad characters although at the time it came out the Apaches were the bad guys, why else would they cast Palance as Toriano? It's an interesting film from a historical perspective (film history, not actual history) but much finer "cowboy" vs. Indians have been created. In today's world the movie's very un-PC, but weren't most early films starring Native American bigoted in some way?