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Red River (1948)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Romance  |  17 September 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 20,154 users  
Reviews: 158 user | 89 critic

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Fen (as Colleen Gray)
Mr. Melville (as Harry Carey Sr.)
Chief Yowlachie ...
Quo (as Chief Yowlatchie)
Teeler Yacey
Mickey Kuhn ...
Matt - as a Boy
Ray Hyke ...
Walt Jergens
Hal Taliaferro ...
Old Leather (as Hal Talliaferro)


Fourteen years after starting his cattle ranch in Texas, Tom Dunston is finally ready to drive his 10,000 head of cattle to market. Back then Dunston, his sidekick Nadine Groot and a teen-aged boy, Matt Garth -who was the only survivor of an Indian attack on a wagon train - started off with only two head of cattle. The nearest market however is in Missouri, a 1000 miles away. Dunston is a hard task master demanding a great deal from the men who have signed up for the drive. Matt is a grown man now and fought in the Civil War. He has his own mind as well and he soon runs up against the stubborn Dunston who won't listen to advice from anyone. Soon, the men on the drive are taking sides and Matt ends up in charge with Dunston vowing to kill him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The River Is Red  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (original theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Howard Hawks said he often thought of John Ford when shooting, particularly in a burial scene when ominous clouds started to gather. He told John Wayne to keep talking, say anything, and they would fix the sound later. In the final cut, the scene is played with a big cloud dramatically passing over, and Hawks said he told Ford, "Hey, I've got one almost as good as you can do-you better go and see it." See more »


The film is set in 1865 yet several Colt Model 1873 Single-Action Army Revolvers are seen which were not available until later. See more »


Teeler Yancy: I shouldn't have run away. I should have stayed and put a bullet in you. I signed a pledge, sure, but you ain't the man I signed it with.
Thomas Dunson: You finished?
Teeler Yancy: Yeah, now you can get your Bible and read over us after you shoot us.
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Settle Down
Written by Dimitri Tiomkin
Played during the opening credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the finest movies ever--and I don't like Westerns
9 January 1999 | by (Waltham, MA) – See all my reviews

Although I have never been a huge fan of Westerns nor of John Wayne, this movie was truly excellent. My father is a true-to-life cowboy from that era and could vouch for how accurate this movie portrayed the life of a cowboy in those days. What really makes this movie is the stellar performance of Montgomery Clift as Matt Garth, brilliant though forgotten actor of the late 40's thru the mid 60's. The depth of John Wayne's acting in this movie was very refreshing. In short, this movie deserves a viewing by even the most avid loathers of Westerns.

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