A simple stagecoach trip is complicated by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area. The passengers on the coach include a drunken doctor, two women, a bank manager who has taken off with his client's money, and the famous Ringo Kid, among others. Written by
Andrew Hyatt <email@example.com>
A device known as a "Running W" was used on the Indians' horses during the sequence where they are chasing the stagecoach. Strong, thin wires are fixed to a metal post, then the other end of the wires are attached to an iron clamp that encircles the legs of a horse, and the post is anchored into the ground. The horse is then ridden at full gallop, and when the wire's maximum length is reached--just when the rider is "shot"--the animal's legs are jerked out from underneath it, causing it to tumble violently and throw the "shot" rider off. The trouble was that the rider knew when the horse was going to fall but the horse didn't, resulting in many horses either being killed outright or having to be destroyed because of broken limbs incurred during the falls. The use of the "Running W" was eventually discontinued after many complaints from both inside and outside the film industry. See more »
At Apache Wells where Chris rushes in to wake the Marshal to say his wife has run off, the Marshal and Ringo Kid are chained together at the ankle. The Marshal delivers his line but moves his chained leg too far, jerking the chains around Ringo's ankle. Ringo yelps and grabs his ankle. As the Marshal turns toward Ringo to undo the chains, the Marshal is clearly struggling not to break up laughing as Ringo glares at him. See more »
These hills here are full of Apaches. They've burnt every ranch building in sight.
[referring to Indian scout]
He had a brush with them last night. Says they're being stirred up by Geronimo.
Geronimo? How do we know he isn't lying?
No, he's a Cheyenne. They hate Apaches worse than we do.
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A Western with a timeless appeal; one of the few essential Ford/Wayne collaborations
This film is not exactly a matured western, as it does show and (may or may not) endorse the conventional slaying of the battling natives by gunfire and such. But it shows how much a western can change in time, yet still have an appeal with its story elements, character, and especially with its style. An American classic nevertheless with director John Ford bringing his valley in Arizona which he would later use with star John Wayne in The Searchers and She wore a Yellow Ribbon, among others for himself as director, to the film of the tale of a group of people all stuck together on a stagecoach. After reading the short story from which the film is based on, some of the characters made sense, but they are still very much casted perfectly. New star John Wayne is in one these kinds of iconic performances that only got as good as with the Searchers. Plus there is Oscar winner Thomas Mitchell as a drunken, but not stupid, doctor. Very memorable as character study and as a pure action Western as well. As far as the style goes, the long-touted rumor that Orson Welles watched this film 40 times before directing Citizen Kane only makes the experience more enjoyable.
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