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Sunday May 19th 2024

Apache | 1954

Apache location: Geronimo's surrender: Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Agua Dulce Springs, California
Apache location: Geronimo’s surrender: Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Agua Dulce Springs, California

Burt Lancaster is Massai, the last warrior refusing to submit to ‘relocation’ in Florida after the subjugation of the Apache nation.

The opening scene of Geronimo’s surrender, with the Cavalry and Indians facing off among angular sandstone formations, was filmed at the 745-acre Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, 10700 West Escondido Canyon Road, near Agua Dulce Springs, California.

Named after 19th century outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez, who hid out here, the spectacular location – an outburst of the San Andreas fault where spurs of rock have been thrust out of the earth – has been used in hundreds of Westerns and sci-fi movies (including The Flintstones, Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey and Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery), pop videos, photoshoots, episodes of the Star Trek TV series and – more recently – in JJ Abrams’ 2009 big-screen revamp of Star Trek.

The park is in the high desert north of Los Angeles, between Newhall and Acton, off Route 14.

The forested landscapes are in Tuolumne County, east of San Francisco on the Nevada border in the Sierra Nevadas, while the stark red sandstone buttes where Massai hides out with Nalinla (Jean Peters) can be found in Arizona at Sedona, south of Flagstaff, Route 89A.

More scenes were filmed at the Warners’ Calabasas Ranch which was in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles. It’s now a golf course.