Only the Valiant


Only the Valiant, also known as Fort Invincible, is a 1951 Western film produced by William Cagney (younger brother of James Cagney), directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Gregory Peck, Barbara Payton, and Ward Bond. The screenplay was written by Edmund H. North and Harry Brown, based on the 1943 novel of the same name by Charles Marquis Warren.[3]

Only the Valiant
Only the Valiant Lobby Card.jpg
Directed byGordon Douglas
Written byCharles Marquis Warren (novel)
Screenplay byEdmund H. North
Harry Brown
Produced byWilliam Cagney
StarringGregory Peck
Barbara Payton
Ward Bond
CinematographyLionel Lindon
Edited byWalter Hannemann
Robert S. Seiter
Music byFranz Waxman
William Cagney Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • April 13, 1951 (1951-04-13) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,085,000[1]
$2 million (US rentals)[2]

Gregory Peck, in a role he considered a low point of his career,[4] plays Captain Richard Lance, a by-the-book West Point graduate who is not very popular with the men under his command.

This film is in the public domain.[5]


Following the American Civil War, peace is maintained in the New Mexico Territory by Fort Invincible, a fortification set up outside a mountain pass that blocks marauding bands of Apache. The Apache are able to eventually take the fort by cutting off its water supply, then assaulting the fort when its garrison is at its weakest and killing all the defenders.

Captain Richard Lance arrives with a patrol soon after the battle and captures Tucsos, the charismatic leader of the Apache. Lance's scout advises the captain to kill Tucsos, but Lance will not shoot a prisoner.

Back at the headquarters of the 5th Cavalry, the invalid commanding officer orders Lance to assign an officer to command an escort to take Tucsos to a larger post. Lance decides to lead the patrol himself, but at the last minute, the colonel says he needs Lance to stay at the fort in case of an Apache attack, and orders him to assign another (but more popular) officer, Lieutenant Holloway, to lead the small group of men escorting Tucsos. The Apache free Tucsos and Lieutenant Holloway ends up dead. The men at the fort blame Captain Lance, unaware of the colonel's order. They believe that his decision to assign Lieutenant Holloway to the dangerous mission was for a personal reason (both officers were vying for the affection of Cathy Eversham, an officer's daughter). Cathy Eversham believes it too, and bitterly breaks up with him.

Lance's standing with the soldiers at the fort only gets worse when he assembles a group of misfit cavalrymen to hold off the rampaging Indians at the ruins of Fort Invincible, which is considered a suicide mission.



According to Warner Bros accounts, the film earned $1,796,000 domestically and $1,630,000 foreign.[1]

Time Out said "The often brutal physical confrontations show the kind of edge [the director] could deliver when he put his mind to it, and a sinewy, unsympathetic Peck impresses."[6] Leonard Maltin says it is "unusually brutal."[7] In a review of the 2013 Blu-ray release, Creative Loafing assessed that "This middling Western isn't awful so much as it's awfully indifferent." The reviewer cited a routine and largely nonsensical plot, but praised the fun supporting performances from Ward Bond and Lon Chaney, Jr., and gave the film two stars.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 31 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  3. ^ Warren, Charles Marquis (1943). Only the Valiant. New York City: Macmillan Company. ASIN B0007E8HNG.
  4. ^ a b Brunson, Matt (September 10, 2013). "And Then There Were None, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Scanners Sequels Among New Home Entertainment Titles". Creative Loafing. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Only the Valiant".
  6. ^ "Only the Valiant". Time Out London.
  7. ^ Maltin, Leonard. "Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide", 2005.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  • Only the Valiant at IMDb
  • Only the Valiant at Rotten Tomatoes
  • Only the Valiant at AllMovie
  • Only the Valiant is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • DVD Review Review of the film & DVD at Vista Records
  • DVD Review Review of the film & DVD at DVD Verdict