Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (TV Movie 1990) Poster

(1990 TV Movie)

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True to the series
CGMCC11 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I disagree with a previous reviewer. This is vintage Gunsmoke, even though there's only Matt Dillon as a main character from the series. It's a direct sequel to the amnesia episode and has Michael Learner playing the same character she played about 20 years before! After Return To Dodge, where we have an obviously aging Miss Kitty, Matt strikes out on his own and the story, the acting, and the cinematography and locations are all first rate.

This is as true to the Gunsmoke series as The Wrath Of Khan was to the original Star Trek series; a direct sequel to the episode Space Seed.

I give The Last Apache a solid 9.
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Vintage Gunsmoke
susan730 July 2004
Cspaced1 - you took the words right out of my mouth: "I liked this movie." Not a classic, but it has enough adventure and emotion to draw you in and hold you to the end.

Unlike Cspaced1, I do remember the Gunsmoke series. I sat and watched the original, half-hour series with my father and my brother, and I found this movie to be a good use for the character of Matt Dillion. The story line is vintage Gunsmoke. It has its quiet moments and its violent moments; it has joy and it has sadness.

As nice as the picture is, I found the writers succumbing to today's tendency for some senseless violence. In the opening scenes of the movie, Matt goes to pick up a letter, and in the process he kills two men who clearly needed killing. But these killings didn't contribute anything to the story. They just hung there. Dillion could have just as easily picked up his letter and left. I find it somewhat disturbing that writers feel they have to do this.

The only thing I found left unsaid in the end is what Matt did after he parted from Wolf. Did he return to his daughter, or did he ride off. The viewer is left hanging in this regard.
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Perhaps the best of the three-movie series
kenstallings-6534611 August 2018
In my view, this is the best of the three movie series that put the cap on the Gunsmoke franchise. The plot is well written and nuanced. As with many Gunsmoke series episodes, the affairs of the US government and the Indian nations are put forward as a core element of the narrative, and this movie perhaps went the deepest into that narrative.

Invoking the Apache surrender on 4 September 1886, the movie shows the forced resettlement of many Apache from western reservations to Florida. It also, at the end relates the treaty violation in incarcerating treaty signatory Geronimo, and his male warriors, at Fort Pickens, Florida, on the extreme outer banks chain forming the entrance to Pensacola Bay. This stockade was dilapidated at the time, and was an extremely cruel location for Apache, given the extreme heat and humidity, which none of them were acclimated to.

As the movie's end credits show, the treaty formally provided for the Apache men to be immediately reunited with their family already moved to Florida. This illegal incarceration lasted several months, after which the Apache were finally relocated a final time in what is today Western Oklahoma.

A stark difference in this movie is the clean break from any of the ensemble cast of the Gunsmoke TV series. It was the first effort produced after Amanda Blake's death one year prior. The only connection to the TV series was the character of "Mike Yardner," who, as with actor Michael Learned, was given a misleading male name, when, in fact, the character -- and actress -- was decidedly female.

Woven throughout the narrative is the traditional expose of courage and integrity amid strife. However, the way this episode plays out offers unique perspectives, plus a love interest that some consider controversial, but most considered fine drama.

Joe Lara turned in an especially strong performance as the true "Last Apache;" the warrior who refused to surrender, and who rode into the night without anyone knowing his ultimate fate. The cinematography that formed the final scene between Dillon and Lara's character, Wolf, was beautifully crafted, and was quite obviously filmed in actual weather conditions. That scene by itself put this movie well above standard made-for-TV movie fare.
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Again, not true to the series
tvnutt7 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Hi, I gave this a substantially higher rating than Return to Dodge because this is a good movie to watch, plus Matt Dillon LOOKS like Matt Dillon. Not some loner mountain man with Patrick Swayze like hair.

This movie is good at face value and if you like Westerns, but it's not for the Gunsmoke fan. Here's why: Many are still angry that the writers allowed Matt Dillon 1 kiss to someone other than Miss Kitty. In the GS episode "Matt's Love Story." He gets amnesia and is saved by a hard-nosed, woman rancher. She learns to love him and he her. Matt kisses her and then spends the night with her. At the episode Matt finally regains his memory and realizes he cannot stay with the woman, Mike Yardner(Michael Learned). She's angry but understands. FFWD to Last Apache, Mike Yardner has a daughter named Beth who is Matt's love child from that fateful night way back when. Mike tell Matt about Beth and he returns to the ranch. But Beth has been kidnapped by Apaches so it's Daddy Matt to the rescue.

I think it was a disservice to bring up the Matt's Love Story plot in this movie and a greater insult to show Matt had a love child. It just didn't jibe with the GS standard.
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Matt and Mike reunited
csmith-9961521 October 2019
As a huge fan of the Gunsmoke TV show, I really enjoyed this movie. In fact the episode where Matt met Mike was one of my favorites. The story itself was one we've all seen several times, but seeing James Arness as an older version of Matt Dillon was well worth it. Micheal Learned was great too, BUT to her credit she looked young enough to be Matt's daughter. Good watch especially for Gunsmoke fans
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Pretty Good.
qormi24 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Good yarn that has a grizzled Matt Dillon still ham-fisting his way through the untamed West. Lots of action and suspense. Some of it is a bit implausible - Matt Dillon learns from Michael Learned ( her name is "Mike" in the film) that her 18-year-old daughter is the result of a one-night-stand they shared in the desert. Now Matt knows this woman would take him back - yet he doesn't seem interested. Now she's looking very fine...hard to believe anyone would pass that up. Then, there's the Apache half-breed that kidnaps his daughter. This musclebound, blue eyed hunk looks like Jeffrey Hunter on steroids. Any woman could only fantasize about being abducted by such a chick magnet. All this guy has to do is wink at a woman and she would disrobe. Yet, she actually struggles to get away. Lots of great scenes - my favorite is when a tough older guy challenges the bad guy to a game of Russian Roulette - except it's with eight shot glasses - one contains poison in the tequila and they have to trade off shots. He drinks the second to last one and feigns death, hoping the other guy would celebrate by downing the last - and lethal shot instead of passing it by.
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