Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)

Escape from Fort Bravoescape-from-fort-bravo-movie-poster-1953-1020192770
Directed by John Sturges
Written by Frank Fenton; story by Philip Rock and Michael Pate
First viewing/Netflix rental

Capt. Roper: When you’re in the grave, Beecher, it doesn’t matter too much how you got there.

I couldn’t get too excited about this one but my husband, who is the Western fan in our family, liked it.

The story is set during the Civil War at a Union POW camp in the Arizona desert.  The rebel prisoners outnumber the union troops but escape is futile.  Captain Roper (William Holden) always drags his man back to the fort.  Even if he didn’t, the desert is vast and inhabited by fierce Mescalero Indians.

One day, Carla Forester (Eleanor Parker), comes to visit her friend, the colonel’s daughter, who is about to get married.  We quickly learn that her actual purpose is to help her fiance Capt. John March (John Forsythe) escape.  To better do this, she cozies up (in the most brazen 20th century way) to Capt. Roper and he is soon in love with her.

escape from fort bravo 2

We follow the planning and execution of the escape.  Carla joins the escape party, mostly because she finds herself falling for Roper.  Roper and a few troops go out to intercept the Confederates.  They do this but then the entire outfit is attacked by Indians and must work together.  With William Demerest as an old Confederate.


I found this pretty cliched.  Holden and Parker seem to be acting in the wrong century. Actually the Demerest character is the most effectively old-timey.  It doesn’t move too fast either, mostly because we know exactly where it is going at all times.


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