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Massacre (1934) More at IMDbPro »


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Robert Gessner (story)
Ralph Block (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
20 January 1934 (USA) See more »
Joe Thunderhorse, a Sioux Indian who has become the wealthy star of a Wild West show, returns home to his reservation after years away and finds that his father is dying and his people are being abused by corrupt white officials. | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
Indian Bolshevik See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order)

Richard Barthelmess ... Chief Joe Thunderhorse

Ann Dvorak ... Lydia
Dudley Digges ... Elihu P. Quissenberry
Claire Dodd ... Norma
Henry O'Neill ... J.R. Dickinson
Robert Barrat ... Dawson
Arthur Hohl ... Dr. Turner

Sidney Toler ... Thomas Shanks

Clarence Muse ... Sam

Charles Middleton ... Sheriff Scatters

Tully Marshall ... Jake
Wallis Clark ... Cochran
William V. Mong ... Grandy
DeWitt Jennings ... Sheriff Jennings
Juliet Ware ... Mrs. Trevor
James Eagles ... Adam Thunderhorse
Frank McGlynn Sr. ... Missionary
Agnes Narcha ... Jennie Thunderhorse
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Irving Bacon ... Secretary (uncredited)
William Bailey ... Investigation Attendant (uncredited)
Hank Bell ... Cowboy Selling Rope (uncredited)

Chief John Big Tree ... Indian Judge (uncredited)
George Blackwood ... Charles Moffitt (uncredited)
Sidney Bracey ... Norma's Butler (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Deputy (uncredited)

Iron Eyes Cody ... Indian (uncredited)
William B. Davidson ... Senator Beale (uncredited)
White Dove ... Indian (uncredited)

Douglass Dumbrille ... Senator Emory, Chairman (uncredited)
Philip Faversham ... Interne (uncredited)
Julia Griffith ... Hearing Spectator (uncredited)
Samuel S. Hinds ... Judge Eldridge (uncredited)
Noble Johnson ... Indian Leader (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Prosecutor (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Dickinson's Secretary (uncredited)
Henry Kolker ... Senator Woolsey (uncredited)
Artie Ortego ... Indian on Raid (uncredited)
George Reed ... Chief Black Star (uncredited)
Cliff Saum ... Cameraman (uncredited)
Harry Seymour ... Indian Show Barker (uncredited)
Chief Standing Bear ... Indian (uncredited)
Chief Thunderbird ... Indian (uncredited)
Niles Welch ... Arena Announcer (uncredited)

Directed by
Alan Crosland 
Writing credits
Robert Gessner (story)

Ralph Block (screenplay) and
Sheridan Gibney (screenplay)

Ralph Block  story

Produced by
Robert Presnell Sr. .... producer
Original Music by
Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)
Cinematography by
George Barnes 
Film Editing by
Terry O. Morse 
Art Direction by
John Hughes 
Costume Design by

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
70 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Chief Joe Thunderhorse:You used to shoot the Indian down. Now you cheat him and starve him and kill him off by dirt and disease. It's a massacre, any way you take it!See more »
The Sun DanceSee more »


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Indian Bolshevik, 9 August 2011
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Although Richard Barthelmess was on the downside of his career which began in silent films with Massacre you couldn't judge by the quality of this film. I am really surprised that this film is not better known. It is a remarkable portrayal of the American Indian in the New Deal years and the entrenched powers arrayed against them as a conquered people.

The story begins as Barthelmess is summoned to the Sioux reservation because his father is ill. He finds when he gets there that his father is dying mainly because of the lack of medical attention. After that he learns of other injustices suffered and he's determined to do something about it.

The villains in Massacre are Dudley Digges as the Indian agent and Arthur Hohl as a missionary. You know this film was made before the Code was in place because after this you could never show a man of the cloth as a villain. In fact Barthelmess after his father dies is determined to bury him with the traditional Indian ceremonial rites. That totally drives Digges and Hohl up a wall as they do not want this Indian Bolshevik which is what Digges calls Barthelmess to be bringing these Indians back to paganism and against what the missionaries have been trying to instill in the Sioux. When you think about it, this film is decades ahead of its time.

Ann Dvorak plays the Indian maid who falls for Barthelmess and Sidney Toler plays the man that Barthelmess kills forcing him to flee the reservation and seek redress from Washington, DC. What happens, well the Sioux nearly go on the warpath as they are in a take no prisoners mood.

Sad to say in a film so sensitive about Indian rights and stereotypes, black people come in for a bit of racial stereotyping in this film. It is probably what keeps the film from getting a higher rating or from being a classic on the subject like Devil's Doorway or Fort Apache. Still Massacre is a great film that too few people know about.

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