Arrowhead (1953)




Director:    Charles Marquis Warren.

Starring:     Jack Palance (Toriano), Katy Jurado (Nita), Brian Keith (Capt. North), Mary Sinclair (Lela Wilson), Milburn Stone (Sandy MacKinnon), Richard Shannon (Lt. Kirk), Lewis Martin (Col. Weybright), Frank De Kova (Chief Chattez), Bob Wilke (Sgt. Stone), Peter Coe (Spanish), Kyle James (Jerry August), John Pickard (John Gunther), Pat Hogan (Jim Eagle).

Chief of Scouts Ed Bannon (Charleton Heston) for the U.S. Army in the southwest is a man who grew up partly amid the Apaches.  But he grew to hate the Apaches with a vengeance. He is modeled "in part" after Chief of Scouts Al Sieber (1844-1907).



The movie is all right, but a bit hateful.  The work is a criticism of sorts of all those liberal "softies" who trusted the Chiracauha Apaches to keep their word as regards peace.  The Chief of Scouts is always right:  you can't trust any of the Indians: not the half-breed men or women who work as fort staff, not the Apache army scouts, nor the Apaches themselves, and certainly not their leader Torreyano. So I guess all that hatred and suspiciousness of the Apaches was justified after all, eh?  

The Al Sieber character also shows up in the Geronimo movie.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historic Background:


1844  --  Albert Sieber born in Mingolsheim, Germany.  As a child the family first settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then in Minnesota.

1862  --  at age 18 he enlisted in the 1st Minnesota Infantry. He served at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg, where he received wounds that plagued him for the rest of his life.

after the end of the Civil War, 1865  --  he prospected for in California and Nevada.

1868  --  arrived in Prescott, Arizona where he managed a ranch.  It was here that he began learning Indian fighting skills.

1871  --  command of the Department of Arizona went to General George Crook.  He won the allegiance of a number of Apaches as scouts and brought many Apaches onto reservations.

By 1871 --  Sieber was well-known as a scout. 

1871  --  he was hired by General George Crook to be Chief of Scouts.

1872 & 1873  --  Sieber serve in most of the major engagements during Crook's Tonto campaign.

1873  --  Crook accepted the surrender of Chalipun at Camp Verde; Sieber had remained behind to manage affairs at Camp Verde. 

1875  --  Sieber was in charge of the transfer of the Yavapais and Tonto Apaches at Camp Verde to San Carlos, because the Camp Verde Reservation was being terminated. The transfer was done in the winter and a tragedy near the Mazatzal Mountains left several Indians dead.  

From 1875 on  --  Sieber was mostly in San Carlos country.

1882   --  at San Carlos, the Indians broke out (headed by Na-ti-o-tish).  They were finally cornered at Big Dry Wash (near what is now Chevelon Creek).  The battle that followed was the last battle with Apaches within the territory of Arizona. (After this, Sieber went mostly on scouting missions in Mexico.)

1883  --  Crook led a major expedition into the Sierra Madre of Mexico against the Chiricahuas under Geronimo. Sieber was there as a scout in the early campaigns against Geronimo.  (He was not present at Geronimo's capture.)

1885  --  General Crook, along with scouts Al Sieber, Tom Horn and Mickey Free set out in pursuit of Geronimo.

1886 (March 27)   --  Geronimo surrendered at Caņon de Los Embudos in Sonora, Mexico.

1887  --  the Apache Kid worked as a Scout for Al Sieber.  The Kid was in charge of the guardhouse at San Carlos, but he left his post in order to hunt down a man he believed killed his father   On his return, he got into an argument with Sieber. During the dispute, someone other than the Apache Kid shot Sieber in the leg. (Sieber was for ever after crippled by the wound, a situation which he deeply resented.)  The Apache Kid escaped but later surrendered.  He was found guilty of attempted murder, but he escaped.  He was never caught. 

1890  --  Major John L. Bullis fired him from his position at San Carlos for his protestations of the way the Major treated the Apaches at San Carlos. 

He prospected for awhile and then worked as a manager of an Apache crew working on the roads leading to the future Roosevelt dam on the Salt River in Tonto Basin. 

1907 (February 19)  --  Siebear was inspecting a large boulder impeding road construction of the road.  The rock rolled over on him, causing his death.

(Source: Paul R. Machula, Al Sieber,


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