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Massacre (1934) More at IMDbPro »


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Up 24% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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 »
(5 articles)
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User Reviews:
clunky script but important story 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)

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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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
clunky script but important story, 9 August 2011
Author: deschreiber from Canada

There's nothing jaw-droppingly brilliant about this film. In fact, it has moments that look like a very low-budget Western. Joe wears one of those Tom Mix hats so big it looks like a joke. Why does he put his hat on before roaring off down the road in his convertible? The punches Joe throws miss their mark by two feet (swish!) while the punchees dutifully drop to the ground. Joe's black assistant sometimes seems smart and individualized, and other times plays the dumb blackie. People in the court scene get on a soapbox and speechify shamelessly. In the closing shot, Joe and his gal embrace, turn, look into the distance, freeze, and you can almost hear the director saying, "Hold it just like while I count to thirty." But for all its clumsiness, it holds your attention because of the importance of the theme, the victimization of native Americans under the reservation system and one man's effort to get justice. It's amazing to realize that this was produced in 1934, with several decades to come of standard Hollywood westerns, many based on the idea that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. I enjoyed this movie very much and wish it were more widely known.

Many shots seem to have been taken on location with real natives on real reservations, and the burial ceremony seems authentic.

On a much lighter note, I adored Joe's car, some swanky roadster of the thirties. I'd be happy to drive a car like that today.

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