With the end of the North American Civil War, the manufacturers of repeating rifles find a profitable means of making money selling the weapons to the North American Indians, using the front man John Lattimer to sell the rifles to the Cheyenne. While traveling in a stagecoach with Calamity Jane and William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and his young wife Louisa Cody that want to settle down in Hays City managing a hotel, Wild Bill Hickok finds the guide Breezy wounded by arrows and telling that the Indians are attacking a fort using repeating rifles. Hickok meets Gen. George A. Custer that assigns Buffalo Bill to guide a troop with ammunition to help the fort. Meanwhile the Cheyenne kidnap Calamity Jane, forcing Hickok to expose himself to rescue her. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Native-American (Anthony Quinn) who happens upon Hickok and Cody's camp has the guidon for Company E, 7th Calvary. This company, commanded by Lt. Algernon Smith, was known as the "Gray Horse Company". See more »
According to the film, Custer's Last Stand and the establishment of the boom town of Deadwood occur shortly after the end of the Civil War in 1865. In actuality they happened 11 years later in 1876. See more »
Wild Bill Hickok:
What started you on the warpath, Yellow Hand?
Where sun rise, white man's land. Where sun set, Indian land. White man come, take our land, kill buffalo, our food. White man promise us food. White man lie. Now Cheyenne buy white man thunder stick. Soon war drum sound in all Indian land. All tribes ride with Yellow Hand. We drive white man, like buffalo, away back to rising sun. Yellow Hand has spoken.
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I still have the copy my parents gave me of Cecil B. DeMille's autobiography and he does go into some detail about the research done for his films. I'm wondering if Paramount decided to save money on the research for this one.
The action of this film takes place from the end of the Civil War until Wild Bill Hickok is shot dead in Deadwood which was 1876. Now that's eleven years that if you took this film literally is compressed to about three months. I found that a wee bit too much to swallow.
But DeMille knew how to fill the screen with some slam bang entertainment. The battle with the Cheyenne Indians is exciting, almost an early version of 3-D. I'm suspecting a lot is lost by only seeing it on television.
Gary Cooper is at his laconic yup and nope best, Jean Arthur is a fine Calamity Jane. The rest of the cast does well also. One tragic note is that Helen Burgess who plays the bride of Buffalo Bill died shortly after completing this film at the age of 19. I think a wonderful career was cut short.
Good entertainment, but any resemblance to western history is purely coincidental.
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