Geronimo! According to Hollywood

He's on his way with 10,000 yelling demons!
He’s on his way with 10,000 yelling demons!

In 1889, novelist Edward Ellis’s On the Trail of Geronimo was one of the first of more than 150 fictional titles to treat the people commonly referred to today as the Apache.

His pioneer effort did not go unnoticed. Realizing that the topic had box office appeal, moviemakers went to work. As early as 1912, the cameras rolled for Geronimo’s Last Raid. Regrettably this nitrate silent, which was produced just three years after the death of its main character at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill, disintegrated and is lost forever.

The appeal of Geronimo, however, was to survive. In fact, he would be portrayed in more Hollywood Oaters than any other American Indian, including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull!
True West
presents a pictorial of Geronimo filmography in both TV and movies, starting with 1939’s Stagecoach and 1940’s Geronimo! (the source of our title art) into the 1990s, when Geronimo seemingly went into retirement. Yet his powerful legend is unlikely to rest forever. He is merely waiting for another role to be offered.


John Langellier has served as a film and TV consultant, most notably for Geronimo: An American Legend. His most recent book is Southern Arizona Military Outposts, which will be released in early 2011 by Arcadia Publishing.

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John Langellier

John Langellier received his PhD in military history from Kansas State University. After a 45-year career in public history, he retired in Tucson, Arizona, in 2015. He is the author of dozens of books, including Fighting for Uncle Sam: Blacks in the Frontier Army, due out in early 2016.