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Red River (1948)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Romance  |  17 September 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 19,887 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.


(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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


Greatest Spectacle Ever! See more »


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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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shots of the great cattle drive required 25,000 gallons of water to settle the dust kicked up by the cattle. See more »


When Dunson is standing next to his horse after Mathew Garth takes the herd from him, he clearly has a belt full of cartridges, but later on Mathew confirms to Groot that he took all of Dunson's cartridges. See more »


[Groot complains about the dust]
Groot Nadine: Bet I ate ten pounds in the last sixteen days. Before this shenanigan is over, I'll probably eat enough land to incorporate me in the Union. The state of Groot.
See more »


Referenced in Australia (2008) See more »


Settle Down
Written by Dimitri Tiomkin
Played during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A much neglected Classic western!
30 May 1999 | by (Medicine Hat, Alberta) – See all my reviews

I was the "first kid on the block" to purchase a VCR, way back in the late 60's...the RCA timer, no remote, no nothing! Paid $1200.00 for it (Canadian funds!)and ALL my friends told me I was nuts. I TRIED to tell them that, eventually, everybody would own a VCR but was shouted down. In any case, Red River was the first movie I taped and, deleting commercial breaks, I was ecstatic to have a Hollywood movie on hand to watch whenever the urge arose. And WHAT A MOVIE!!! I agree with earlier comments re John Wayne...who usually just played John Wayne. In THIS one, and "The Searchers", however, the director got one helluva performance out of the Duke. Also, the second movie performance by the tragical Montgomery "pretty" in the Mohammed Ali sense that I virtually fell in love with him myself, even though I was a "straight" teenaged boy. From the opening credits, with that almost Wagnerian music by Dmitri Tiomkin, this movie (shot in 1946 and held 'til 1948 for release...I forget why)should be compulsory viewing for the brain-dead Hollywood moguls of today. Actually, there are no "moguls" left...they're all bottom-line money men who wouldn't know a good movie if they saw one..."Let's check the demographics, guys, and fill those multiple screen outlets with brain-dead teens (not really their fault as products of our so called progressive p.c. education system)and make a TON of money!" My age is showing...back to the movie. If you haven't seen it, be prepared for a LONG sojourn. This isn't brain's an allegorical treatise on the impetuousness of youth vs. the inflexible values of pioneer stock. In the end, BOTH are told to cut themselves some slack, by the "gun-totin" Joanne Dru. In summary, a Great Western, and to get back to the Duke, an amazing performance by a 39 year old made up to look like a 60 year old...and he pulled it off! The respect/fear combo of his hired trailhands is almost Shakespearian, and a tribute to the screenwriter/s and director Howard Hawks. If you've never seen yourself a big favour and rent this little classic!

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