A scout in the old Southwest (Gregory Peck) undertakes to protect a white woman (Eva Marie Saint) and her half-breed son from the Apache warrior--the woman's captor-husband of 10 years--who wants them back. The scout is a man of estimable courage and resources (again, Gregory Peck), but the mostly unseen Apache is a veritable monster of determination, cunning, and bloodthirstiness: Peck and his two charges doom entire communities to extermination just by passing through the neighborhood. This fierce amalgam of Western and horror movie was the last of seven collaborations between director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula, of which To Kill a Mockingbird was the peak. The Stalking Moon isn't peak material, but it's a demonically effective palm-sweater, and fascinating as a prelude to Pakula's own breakout as director of the great paranoid trilogy Klute, The Parallax View, and All the President's Men. Robert Forster has an early role as a fellow, part-Indian scout. --Richard T. Jameson
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