Violent but clichéd cavalry versus Indians western, with Rod Taylor as the knowing professional who may - or may not - be able to avoid a massacre. There are a few similarities to director Douglas' own Rio Conchos (1964), which was better paced and had far more interesting characters.
In Rio Conchos, Richard Boone played an obsessive man, an Indian hater, hired by the army to do an illegal job across the border, creating an atmosphere of ambiguity and terror. In Chuka, Taylor's titular character is also a man who is struggling with some inner demons (his violent past and his feelings for a long-lost love), but it all sounds remarkably hollow. However, the premise isn't bad and there are even a couple of interesting story elements: The Cavalry unit is shown as totally inept, led by an alcoholic officer, while the Indians only plan to attack because they're hungry and are after the Fort's ammunition, so they can defend themselves in the future against more redoubtable opponents.
Douglas' direction is adequate, especially during the well-staged, tough action moments; the characters are mere stereotypes, but they're played by an ensemble of fine actors. Good-old Ernie Borgnine comes off best as an impulsive and violent, but deep inside honest sergeant who refuses to let down the man who once saved his life. The problem of this movie is not that it's bad - it isn't - but that it could've easily been so much better. All scenes within the fort are shot on sound-stages, multiple shadows circling around the actors, and the romantic subplot - a failed attempt to give some depth to Taylor's character - adds very little to the story (unless the beauty of Luciana Paluzzi).