Originally conceived as a Gary Cooper western, Only the Valiant reached the screen with Gregory Peck in the lead. Peck plays Richard Lance, a strictly by-the-book Army captain. Though hated by his men, Lance is respected for his military know-how. This comes in very handy when Lance and a detachment of troops attempt to reach, and then hold, an unguarded Army garrison in the middle of Apache Country. Among the film's he-man contingent are Ward Bond, Gig Young, Lon Chaney Jr., Neville Brand, Jeff Corey and Steve Brodie, all delivering topnotch performances. The nominal leading lady is Barbara Payton, whose real-life tragedies were far more dramatic than any film she appeared in. Only the Valiant was based on a novel by Charles Marquis Warren.