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The Stalking Moon (1968)

A sympathetic retired army scout takes-in a white woman and her half-Apache son, not knowing that the boy's father, a murderous renegade Apache, is after them.


Robert Mulligan


Alvin Sargent (screenplay), Wendell Mayes (adaptation) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Sam Varner
Eva Marie Saint ... Sarah Carver
Robert Forster ... Nick Tana
Noland Clay Noland Clay ... Boy
Russell Thorson ... Ned
Frank Silvera ... Major
Lonny Chapman ... Purdue
Lou Frizzell Lou Frizzell ... Stationmaster (as Lou Frizell)
Henry Beckman ... Sgt. Rudabaugh
Charles Tyner ... Dace
Richard Bull ... Doctor
Sandy Brown Wyeth Sandy Brown Wyeth ... Rachel (as Sandy Wyeth)
Joaquín Martínez ... Julio (as Joaquin Martinez)
Boyd 'Red' Morgan Boyd 'Red' Morgan ... Stage Driver Shelby (as Red Morgan)
Nathaniel Narcisco Nathaniel Narcisco ... Salvaje


When an army scout retires to a farm in New Mexico he takes pity on a white woman and her "half-breed" son recently rescued from Indians, and invites them to join him. He does this even knowing the child's father is a feared and murderous Apache and that sooner or later a showdown is almost inevitable. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He comes with the stalking moon. Silently. Relentlessly. And when he comes there is no place to hide. See more »




G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

22 December 1968 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

L'homme sauvage See more »

Filming Locations:

Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In The Big Country (1958)--starring and produced by Gregory Peck--the foreman (played by Charlton Heston) Steve Leech rides a very striking and beautiful black and white paint horse. Ten years later in this film--also starring Peck--the same horse is ridden by the Apache chief Salvaje. (played by Nathaniel Narcisco). See more »


When the stage arrives at the first way-station, it departs almost immediately after collecting passengers. At the every least, in those conditions, the horses would have been watered and the passengers allowed a food and toilet break. The people running the way-station would have needed to sell food and drink to make money. See more »


Sgt. Rudabaugh: You sure picked a hell of a way to end fifteen years in the Army!
Sam Varner: I don't mind getting out alive.
See more »


Referenced in Reflections of Evil (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Part quintessential western, part groundbreaking western.
16 April 2001 | by talent-1See all my reviews

I happened to be searching for this title as I have wanted to collect it for years. It is difficult to find although it has been on cable a number of times.

It is an extraordinary look at life in the west from several important perspectives. I was reading comments and a critic's review of this great film and I would like to make 2 primary comments:

1. If you haven't seen the movie or didn't pay attention, you should not comment on it. You may talk someone out of a memorable entertainment experience. At least get the particulars correct.

2. Nothing could be further from the truth regarding it being a "forgettable" film. On the contrary it is a compelling and "unforgettable film." It's the real thing and very much worth watching!

I rank this film right up there with "The Wild Bunch", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "McCabe and Mrs. Miller", "True Grit", "The Magnificent Seven", "Hombre", "Shane", "Jeremiah Johnson","The Outlaw Josey Wales" and others.

Despite other comments, Robert Forster played the memorable role of "Nick" a "half-breed" scout taught by Sam Varner (Gregory Peck.) It was Nathaniel Narcisse who played the much feared Native American warrior, Salvaje, who tracked Sam and the others in search of his son and only heir.

This film was the quintessential film about scouting and tracking of that era. It was the first and only (serious) western film that was a thriller. The haunting sound track effects, sets, and the stealth and terror created by it's antogonist, Salvaje, was riveting. This "brave" could get in and out of places and kill many, single-handedly, without being heard or seen-like a ghost! He is more stealth and deadly in this film than "Rambo" was in the forest sequence in the movie "First Blood."

The movie is about a retiring army scout, Sam Varner (Gregory Peck) who agrees to transfer a white woman-who had been kidnapped years before by Indians-to someplace other than the reservation. She had a son by a fearsome warrior whom she feared would return to claim that son. On the way Sam (Peck) decided he would offer her and her half-breed son a new start at his ranch where he was headed to in retirement. That is where all of his (Peck's) trouble started. Salvaje wants his son and stops at nothing to find and take him.

This movie has every important element, the scenery and cinematography, full characters you care about, great soundtrack, fantastic acting, and unbelievable drama and terror. And the facts of living in that period are accurate and you live the experience. It is not predictable. It will have you on the edge of your seat!

With the exception of "To Kill a Mockingbird", this may well be Gregory Peck's finest performance. He is in his prime.

The tracking scenes are unforgettable. Whether you are a western buff or not this is a great movie. There will never be another western like this one.

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