FORT YUMA is a Cavalry Western distinguished by Technicolor location shooting around Kanab, Utah, but a depressing and overly violent storyline made it unsatisfying viewing.
Lt. Ben Keegan (Peter Graves) hates all Indians, especially Sgt. Jonas (John Hudson), a military scout who is also an Apache Indian. Hypocritical Ben secretly has an Indian mistress, Francesca (Joan Taylor), who also happens to be the sister of Jonas.
Ben and Jonas are tasked with delivering a missionary schoolteacher (Joan Vohs) to Fort Yuma, but the trip is interrupted by warring Indians.
Lesley Selander, but this film just didn't sit well with me. There was little that was uplifting from a relationship standpoint, and a lot of people meet unhappy ends.
The film is from Bel-Air Productions, and I found that this movie was similar to the other Bel-Air Westerns I've seen to date, REBEL IN TOWN (1956) and FORT BOWIE (1958), in being excessively dark and/or violent. FORT YUMA and REBEL IN TOWN share the same screenwriter, Danny Arnold.
According to IMDb, the film was originally not approved for release under the Production Code and several scenes which were deemed to be excessively violent were edited out. If I found the 78-minute release version of the film too violent for my tastes, I can't imagine what the original version was like!
It's also worth noting that this was released the same year as Selander's SHOTGUN (1955), which I mostly liked but again found overly violent.
Joan Taylor of EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1955) was perhaps the most interesting character in the film. That said, she and Graves have a disturbing scene where he belts her to the ground and she gets up and kisses him!
Actress Joan Vohs was familiar to me from an early MAVERICK episode, "The Long Hunt." The cast also includes William "Bill" Phillips, James O'Hara, and Addison Richards.
FORT YUMA is available in a nice print on DVD-R in the MGM Limited Edition Collection. Amazon Prime users can stream the movie on Amazon Instant Video for no additional charge.
Additional Peter Graves Westerns reviewed in the last few months: FORT DEFIANCE (1951), ROBBERS' ROOST (1955), WICHITA (1955), and CANYON RIVER (1956).