7.8/10
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166 user 88 critic

Red River (1948)

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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(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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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

In 25 Years, Only Three! "The Covered Wagon", "Cimarron" and now Howard Hawks' "Red River" See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The River Is Red  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film bears some resemblance to Come and Get It (1936), a film Howard Hawks began that was taken over by William Wyler. In both films, there is a conflict between an older and younger man, father and foster son figures, who end up competing for the same woman; in that film, the Frances Farmer character is a surrogate for the woman the older man loved and lost years before. See more »

Goofs

When Dunson's wagon rolls away after leaving the wagon train, there are four cows tied to it. Just before young Matt appears, the back of the wagon is seen with two cows, one standing and one lying down on its side. Later, when young Matt ties his cow to the wagon, there are only the two cows that the new herd started with. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Melville: You know that young man isn't going to use his gun don't you.
Cherry: Yeah, but I haven't got any such notion.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Among the annals of the great state of Texas may be found the story of the first drive on the famous Chisholm Trail. A story of one of the great cattle herds of the world, of a man and a boy--Thomas Dunson and Matthew Garth, the story of the Red River D. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
(a.k.a. "The Cowboy's Lament") (uncredited)
Traditional American ballad
Instrumental version is heard during burial scenes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The last picture show
31 October 2005 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

Some people think this is the greatest western ever made and they aren't far off the mark. It is certainly among the most expansive. Borden Chase adapted his own Saturday Evening Post story "The Chisholm Trail" but it was Howard Hawks who fleshed it out. There are some who see the relationship between Tom Dunson, (John Wayne), and his surrogate son Matthew Garth, (Montgomery Clift), as mirroring that of Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian and again that isn't too far off the mark either. Then there is the teasingly suggestive homo-erotic by-play that exists between Clift and gunslinger John Ireland, with a lot of emphasis on the affection each shares for the other's gun. But pat psychology aside the film is chiefly enjoyable for its sheer physicality. Indian attacks, gunfights, cattle stampedes and a great climatic confrontation between Wayne and Clift, it has them all.

Clift, a relative newcomer when the film came out, (it was only his second picture), is excellent. The camera loves him and he knows it. This is Clift at his most likable and laconic. But it is Wayne's tyrannical Tom Dunson who dominates every scene. It's a great piece of acting, the equal of his work in "The Quiet Man" and "The Searchers", maybe better. Those who say he was the same in every picture were surely blinkered. Given a great part like Dunson or Ethan Edwards he clearly understood the psychology of the role and what made the character tick. And for once, Dimitri Tiomkin's great score adds to, rather than detracts from, the film. Trivia time; in Peter Bogdanovitch's "The Last Picture Show" it was Hawk's "Red River" that was the last picture show.


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