Duel at Diablo (1966)

Duel at Diablo


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Movie Info

Frontier scout Jess Remsberg (James Garner) is crossing the desert when he spots a dead army scout and group of Apaches pursuing someone -- it turns out to be a white woman, Ellen Grange (Bibi Andersson); he gets her away from them and returns her to her home and her husband Willard (Dennis Weaver), who seems much more upset that the horse she was riding when she left is dead than he is glad that she is back. Ellen was kidnapped by the Apaches two years before and rescued a year after that, and … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Michel Grilikhes, Michael M. Grilikhes, Marvin H. Albert, Michel M. Grilikhes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 29, 2014


as Jess Remsberg

as Ellen Grange

as Willard Grange

as Lt. Scotty McAlliste...

as Sgt. Ferguson

as Chata

as Clay Dean

as Maj. Novak

as Col. Foster

as Chata's Wife

as Miner

as Cpl. Harrington

as Stableman

as Burly Soldier

as 1st Wagon Driver

as 2nd Wagon Driver
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Duel at Diablo

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 30, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 21, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

There's secure star power with actors James Garner and Sidney Poitier, who deliver leathery performances.

Full Review… | September 27, 2014

Fails to make much hay with the racial questions that were raised.

Full Review… | April 12, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

July 19, 2005

Audience Reviews for Duel at Diablo


Ralph Nelson gained a lot of experience as a television director in the early days. He has also teamed up with Sidney Poitier several times. I have enjoyed all of the films I've seen directed by Nelson, not as the most excellent overall piece of film work, but through the believable performances he draws out of his actors.

Andersson plays a frontier woman who was captured by the Apache. She discovers they are not savages and that their way of life is very satisfying. When she is re-kidnapped by white soldiers, her life becomes hell. As expected from this frontier culture, everyone hates or avoids her as if she's been infested with some disease from spending time with the Indians. Everyone thinks she must be a spoiled woman since the savages probably used her as a whore, including her trader husband. She makes several attempts to run back to the Apache, but they consider her a traitor because they think she went back willingly with the white people. She's caught in between these two cultures at war. A major theme of the story is universal Xenophobia. But then the chief threatens to bury her alive for being a traitor, so the Indians are shown to be more savage in the end. And to top it all off, Andersson does have a mixed baby from her time with the Apache tribe.

The rest of the ensemble is well developed and provides the adventure and framework. Garner plays a freelance scout who often contracts with the army. He is an expert in the terrain and knows something about Apache strategy since he was married to an Indian woman. He sympathizes with Andersson and is a loner himself because he's never felt welcome in either culture. He's also out for revenge against a white man who scalped his wife. Poitier is a retired army sergeant who has taken up saddle-breaking horses for a living. He's the rare black man on the frontier who is well educated, well dressed, and well respected by almost everyone. Travers plays a Scottish Lieutenant who is charged with training some new recruits and transporting a wagon full of munitions and explosives to another fort across Apache territory. Weaver plays Andersson's husband and he has a wagon of goods he wants to trade at the other fort too. The schedule is rushed forward on this dangerous mission. So instead of heading off to the other fort ahead of the army on his revenge quest, Garner is convinced to scout for the military caravan once again. Poitier has to tag along to tame some of the wild horses on the way in order to receive the remainder of his promised pay. Travers has to deal with inexperienced troops and match military strategy with the Apache chief who is determined to get a hold of the munitions wagon for himself. Weaver, the racist, comes along for the trip as well, expecting protection and just generally causing more drama.

Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

When you hear the name Sidney Poitier, you don't think of westerns off hand. But when you add James Garner to the mix, you actually have a decent western.
James Garner as Jess Remsberg & Sidney Poitier as Toller, the team up could not be more perfect. A western that is not too unique, but one that if you are a fan that you should not pass up.


(1966 Director: Ralph Nelson) Among the best of the good westerns...Sydney Poitier, James Garner, Dennis Weaver, Bill Travers & Bibi Andersson?! Here is the synopsis fromt he site www.rottentomatoes.com: "Synopsis: Based on the novel APACHE RISING by Marvin Albert, this bold and inspired western meets every expectation of its genre. Director Ralph Nelson keeps the pace lively in this Calvary verses the... Based on the novel APACHE RISING by Marvin Albert, this bold and inspired western meets every expectation of its genre. Director Ralph Nelson keeps the pace lively in this Calvary verses the Indians narrative and puts both James Garner and Sidney Poitier to great use. Garner plays Jess Remsberg, a rugged handsome scout, and Poitier plays Toller, a former trooper, who now makes a living breaking in horses. Bill Travers is their formidable leader, Lt. Scotty McAllister. When the vigorous McAllister leads his group of recruits to a far away fort they are unexpectedly attacked by Apaches. The group is saved by Remsberg's knowledge of the Indians and Toller also helps out in unexpected ways. Poitier stretches here, and the result is a surprising and delightful characterization. The well staged, action packed, battle sequences are also a credit to Nelson's direction. Look for Richard Farnsworth, who turns in a memorable cameo as the wagon driver." {My review will be adeded)

Teresa S

Super Reviewer

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