42 user 20 critic

Dark Command (1940)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | 15 April 1940 (USA)
In Kansas, during the Civil War opposing pro-Union and pro-Confederate camps clash and visiting Texan Bob Seton runs afoul of William Cantrell's Raiders.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Spoilers (1942)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In Nome, Alaska, miner Roy Glennister and his partner Dextry, financed by saloon entertainer Cherry Malotte, fight to save their gold claim from crooked commissioner Alexander McNamara.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During the California Gold Rush, Boston pharmacist Tom Craig sets up shop in Sacramento where he clashes with local town crook Britt Dawson.

Director: William C. McGann
Stars: John Wayne, Binnie Barnes, Albert Dekker
Flying Tigers (1942)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller
Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee
Musical | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Duke falls for Flaxen in the Barbary Coast in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. He loses money to crooked gambler Tito, goes home and PL: learns to gamble, and returns. After he makes a ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Kane
Stars: John Wayne, Ann Dvorak, Joseph Schildkraut
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Following Napoleon's Waterloo defeat and the exile of his officers and their families from France, the U.S.Congress, in 1817, granted four townships in the Alabama territory to the exiles. ... See full summary »

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Vera Ralston, Philip Dorn
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During the 1860s in the South Pacific, Capt. Ralls, skipper of the Red Witch, has a series of adventures involving sunken gold bullion, pearls, natives, an unscrupulous ship owner and a giant octopus.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Gail Russell, Gig Young
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Quirt Evans, an all round bad guy, is nursed back to health and sought after by Penelope Worth, a Quaker girl. He eventually finds himself having to choose between his world and the world Penelope lives in.

Director: James Edward Grant
Stars: John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A mysterious stranger arrives in the Missouri hills and befriends a young backwoods girl. Much to the dislike of her moonshiner fiancé who has vowed to find and kill his own father.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Betty Field, Harry Carey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Beulah Bondi
Mystery | Western | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Ranch hand Rocklin arrives in town to start his new job but his employer has been murdered and the locals don't seem too friendly.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: John Wayne, Ella Raines, Ward Bond


Complete credited cast:
Fletch McCloud
Doc Grunch (as George Hayes)
Mrs. Cantrell / Mrs. Adams
Bushropp (as Joseph Sawyer)
Helen MacKellar ...
Mrs. Hale
Mr. Hale


When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. It's just prior to the civil war and there is already a sharp division in the Territory as to whether it will remain slave-free. When he gets the opportunity to run for marshal, Seton finds himself running against the respected local schoolteacher, William Cantrell. Not is what it seems however. While acting as the upstanding citizen in public, Cantrell is dangerously ambitious and is prepared to do anything to make his mark, and his fortune, on the Territory. When he loses the race for marshal, he forms a group of raiders who run guns into the territory and rob and terrorize settlers throughout the territory. Eventually donning Confederate uniforms, it is left to Seton and the good citizens of Lawrence to face Cantrell and his raiders in one final clash. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A drama of undying love


Drama | Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Comando Negro  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA "High Fidelity" Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: Some portions of this photoplay are based upon actual incidents in the lives of its principal characters. All other events and characters are fictitious, and any similarity to actual events or persons is coincidental. See more »


Throughout the film, Colt Single Action Army revolvers (commonly known as Peacemakers) are used by various actors including John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and George 'Gabby' Hayes. This revolver was not produced until the 1870s. The film is set in the late 1850s and 1860s. See more »


Andrew 'Doc' Grunch: You knock 'em loose and I'll pull 'em out. Maybe, I'm just saying maybe, you know; if you was more promiscuous with your punching, we might make a little more money.
Bob 'Shortcut' Seton: What do you mean - promiscuous?
Andrew 'Doc' Grunch: Well, ah, you got strange ideas about justice. You don't want to hit nobody unless they deserve it. Now, that's all right, but we're in business. And business is different!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In those years, 1859 and on, in the dusk before the nation plunged into the red night of civil warfare, the plains of Kansas were an earlier battleground. Down from the north, down to Kansas: up from the south, up to Kansas, came hordes - each bent on voting the territory into the Union as its own. The battle cry of the day was - - "On to Kansas." See more »


Referenced in Videoclub (2013) See more »


Battle Hymn of the Republic
Music by William Steffe (circa 1856)
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe (1961)
Played as part of the score when the Civil War starts
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

White Heat Out West
25 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Mr. Walsh never let historical accuracy get in the way of telling a good rouser about a historical character. This film and Errol Flynn's "They Died with Their Boots On" made the following year for Warner Brothers are prime examples. This is a good Saturday afternoon movie when is what day I first saw it on. Mr. Wayne was still working on his iconic Western Hero image ( which he would nail down perfectly in "Tall In the Saddle" far more impressive than his lummox with a mission performance in "Stagecoach") and to my mind wasn't grating, Gabby Hayes wasn't a total clown, Roy Rogers was actually acting! and Claire Trevor was good doing her part at playing a bland upper class town girl. But Walter Pigeon steals the picture. No namby pamby Greer Garson where are you stuff here! He gets a chance at playing the marauder William C. Quantrill (in this movie called Cantrell)and goes for it. From freeing slaves after killing their owner and selling them to someone else ( Deep real real Deep that scene... ahem) to massacring a Rebel supply train then donning their uniforms and saying he and his growing band are going ' fight for Dixie, Pigeon is a good man to be bad. In a way he seems to be a precursor to Cody Jarret W.R. Burnett and Raoul Walshs' other crazed mamma obsessed bandit. Like Cody he comes from a family of guntoting pyschos who have bad endings. Unlike Cody he is more educated and Mom isn't a gunslinger herself, though Majorie Mains' character could've been written that way. I can hear her raspy voice telling Walter "Ya need ta go to Lawrence and burn it down 'round that Seton fellas ears and git yer woman back boy, how else yer gonna keep these coyotes in line." All in all a good Western with some darker issues bubbling beneath the popcorn.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Dark Command (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: