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The friendship of three Texas Ranchers. Later their ranch was destroyed by Cotrell, of the Union army,and his band of outlaw raiders. The original title was "Distant Drums", this was a description of Civil War army deserters.
A fictionalized account of the life of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. A hunter and Army Scout in the early part of his life, he rescues a US Senator and his beautiful daughter, Louisa Frederici. Cody is portrayed as someone who admires and respects the Indians and is a good friend of Yellow Hand who will eventually become Chief of the Cheyenne. Everyone else, including the military, politicians and businessmen on the other hand hate the Indians and are perfectly prepared to trample on their lands and destroy their buffalo hunting grounds. He's eventually forced to fight the Cheyenne however. He's also met a writer, Ned Buntline, who writes about Cody's exploits and he becomes a sensation when he travels East. His career is not assured however, particularly when he attacks those in positions of authority over their maltreatment of the Native American population. He eventually establishes his wild west show that becomes an international sensation. Written by
Buffalo Bill is directed by William A. Wellman and collectively written by Aeneas MacKenzie, Clements Ripley, Cecile Kramer and Frank Winch. It stars Joel McCrea, Maureen O'Hara, Linda Darnell, Anthony Quinn, Thomas Mitchell and Edgar Buchanan. A Technicolor production out of 20th Century Fox, with music by David Buttolph and cinematography by Leon Shamroy.
The Sioux and the Cheyenne must strike together.
No history lessons to be learned here, just the core essence of one William F. Cody and his life trajectory is used for entertainment purpose. Which if history is not what you are after, makes this a grandish production worth spending time with. 99% of the pic is given to his time out on the ranges as a pioneer, his romance with Louisa Frederici, and his political movements. His move into the Wild West showmanship that he would become famous for, is sadly dealt with in what is little more than a coda at story's end.
Damn the East!
As the story arc moves into the Indian War territory, this lets Wellman show his skills as a constructor of action sequences. The Sioux and the Cheyenne have joined forces and in spite of the arrogant claims by the army suits that the War will be over in a week, it proves to be anything but that. The battle here is that of Warbonnet Creek (AKA: Hat Creek), and it's brilliantly crafted by Wellman and his team, the highlight of the pic for sure, and a merciful change in direction after previously we had witnessed some on screen Buffalo killings, which while not shying from the reality of that moment in history, is still upsetting and tough to watch.
I don't hold with General Sherman that a good Indian is a dead Indian.
Other notable tech accomplishments are attained by Buttolph and Shamroy's respective work, while Wellman continues his fine direction with some nifty locomotive sequences. Acting wise the performances are just about good enough. McCrea and Quinn as Buffalo Bill and Yellow Hand (AKA: Yellow Hair) respectively, have the required amount of machismo and emotional fortitude to make the roles work, and crucially they convince in action scenes. O'Hara and Darnell get poorly written roles, but both are radiantly beautiful and costumed up to the nines, whilst Mitchell and Buchanan are solid as usual.
Lively, colourful, emotional and fanciful, good entertainment for the Western movie lover, but maybe not the Western purists. 7/10
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