Carter has to work his way through a lot of Apache (“thousands” in the book), so I felt we needed to basically get across the idea that he’s both really good with a weapon and a horse (Virginia Cavalry, to be precise), and that he’s making ample progress cutting through these warriors before they can actually get organized and fight back. It also further establishes his skills before we get to Mars and things start getting REALLY outlandish.
It’s a tricky balancing act, as we need to also be moving the plot forward at a steady clip. At this point I’ve shown him killing 9 people, with a single head shot, from a horse, without holding the reins, by moonlight. That’s almost as impressive and impossible as cutting through thousands of Apache braves, so I’ve proven the point I think. Probably that also means its time to get the plot rolling again.