Already you start thinking that Hondo and his player on the other side have a lot in common. They test each other, and when the other doesn't give the answer they want to hear, well, that just means you can trust 'em to speak the truth. Hondo's part Native, speaks the patois,* and in a past life lived among them. He also knows that the U.S. Government made a treaty with the Apache that Ulysses S. Grant has already broken. "The Apache don't have a word for 'lie,'" he says, with a curled lip, so he knows they're going to attack the settlements. That doesn't mean he has to like it, and it doesn't mean he's going to betray either side doing it.
Hondo was financed by Wayne's Batjac Productions,** made on the cheap in Mexico by director John Farrow (father of Mia, and director of The Big Clock and Ride, Vaquero!) and, for the climactic action sequences, by John Ford (which is readily apparent—they look like sequences from Stagecoach). It was also shot in 3-D, with a minimum of arrow-in-your-face shots (except by Farrow in a not-too-convincing knife fight, but Ford goes to town making sure his stunt riders fall right in front of the camera, kicking dust into the lenses). It would be interesting to see it in that format, but Hondo has been monocular since its first road-house presentations.*** But never say "never:" a restored 3-D version of Hondo had its American premiere at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Hollywood. Give it a look-see.
** The original cast was supposed to be Glenn Ford and Katherine Hepburn, but Ford had a bad experience working with Farrow that he didn't want to repeat, and Hepburn didn't like Wayne's right-wing activities at the time. By the time of Rooster Cogburn she had changed her mind.
*** And I've been reminded that "Hondo" was shown nationwide in 3-D..on television...in 1991.