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The Plainsman (1936)

Wild Bill Hickok attempts to stop an Indian uprising that was started by white gun-runners.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Helen Burgess ...
Louisa Cody
...
Paul Harvey ...
Victor Varconi ...
Painted Horse
John Miljan ...
Frank McGlynn Sr. ...
Granville Bates ...
Van Ellyn
...
A Young Trooper
Purnell Pratt ...
Captain Wood
...
Jake - A Teamster (as Fred Kohler Sr. in End Credit)
Pat Moriarity ...
Sergeant McGinnis (as Pat Moriarty)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Held der Prärie  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 31, 1937 with Jean Arthur reprising her film role. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Wild Bill Hickok: [Seeing McCall smoking a cigarette] Hey! Your toothpick is on fire!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
(1860) (uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played as background music when the indians charge
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User Reviews

 
Where sun rise, white man's land. Where sun set, Indian land.
1 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Plainsman is directed by Cecil B. DeMille and written by Courtney Ryler Cooper & Frank J. Wilstach. It stars Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison, Charles Bickford, Helen Burgess and Paul Harvey. Music is by George Antheil and cinematography by Victor Milner. Film is a fictionalised account of the relationships involving Wild Bill Hickok (Cooper), Calamity Jane (Arthur), Buffalo Bill (Ellison) and George Custer (John Miljan).

Master of the epic DeMille crafts a big and bold Western that's finely acted, interesting in its telling and big on idealism. You obviously have to forget real time lines, this is a splicer as DeMille and Co take some of the Wild West's most famous characters and stir them into one Oater stew! Friendships and affairs of the heart form the basis of thematics, with the war against the redskin giving the characters reason for being. Gun running and politico musings drift in and out of the narrative but leave a mark, while DeMille proves classy in action construction as a number of warfare sequences raise the pulse considerably.

The flip-side...

There are no bad apples in the cast (Cooper wonderfully macho, Arthur whip-crackingly gorgeous and Bickford suitably weasel like), though Burgess doesn't quite grasp the dramatic thrust of being Buffalo Bill's good woman. The running time is a touch too long, with several passages of dialogue serving only as time filling exercises, while the back screen projection work is irritable if a little understandable given the time of production. Ultimately there are flaws that make this only a comfortable recommendation to classic era Western fans who can accept it as a 1930s dressed up bit of frontier malarkey. Casual observers, mind, are unlikely to get past the historical hodge-podge and hooray idealism. 7/10


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