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She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Unrated | | Western | 22 October 1949 (USA)
Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

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(story), (screenplay) (as Frank Nugent) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Lt. Flint Cohill
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Top Sgt. Quincannon
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Abby Allshard
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Maj. Mac Allshard
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Dr. O'Laughlin
Michael Dugan ...
Sgt. Hochbauer
...
...
Sgt. Hench
George Sky Eagle ...
Chief Sky Eagle
...
Cpl. Mike Quayne
...
Chief Red Shirt
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Storyline

After Custer and the 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Indians, everyone expects the worst. Capt. Nathan Brittles is ordered out on patrol but he's also required to take along Abby Allshard, wife of the Fort's commanding officer, and her niece, the pretty Olivia Dandridge, who are being evacuated for their own safety. Brittles is only a few days away from retirement and Olivia has caught the eye of two of the young officers in the Company, Lt. Flint Cohill and 2nd Lt. Ross Pennell. She's taken to wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair, a sign that she has a beau in the Cavalry, but refuses to say for whom she is wearing it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John Wayne in his greatest role, as Capt. Brittles, cavalryman first, last, always! (Ad cuts). See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 October 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Teufelshauptmann  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Ford's older brother Francis Ford appears in only one scene as Connolly, the barman. Ford kept Francis on wages "for eight weeks even through Francis could have completed his scenes in less than a week." See more »

Goofs

When Capt Brittles asks the Post commander's wife if the dress she is wearing is made from Top Soldier Quincanon's britches, she agrees, but the skirt is a full ankle length riding skirt made from much more material than a pair of britches. See more »

Quotes

Chief Pony That Walks: Hey, Nathan! Nathan! I am a Christian! Hallelujah! Old friend, me. Long time. Long time.
Captain Nathan Brittles: I come in peace, Pony That Walks.
Chief Pony That Walks: Talk a salt, Nathan. Take salt. Smoke pipe. Good. Good.
Captain Nathan Brittles: Pony That Walks, my heart is sad at what I see. Your young men painted for war. Their scalp knives red. The medicine drums talking. It is a bad thing!
Chief Pony That Walks: A bad thing, Nathan. Many will die. My young men, your young men. No good. No good.
Captain Nathan Brittles: We must stop this war.
Chief Pony That Walks: Too late, Nathan. Young men do not listen to me. They listen ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Garryowen
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish tune
In score
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User Reviews

 
John Wayne, Cinematography, Both Brilliant
14 November 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Anyone who thinks John Wayne can't act should see this movie and eat crow. A young man then, he played a cavalry officer on the verge of retirement. Watch his eyes (the sign of a great actor). It's a wonder he wasn't even nominated for the Academy Award for this role, which few in Hollywood could pull off convincingly.

It's also a John Wayne western the woman in your life will probably like. Wayne talks tenderly at the grave of his wife, and even has a moment of sucking back weeping when his men show their fondness for him.

This bittersweet, elegaic film about a retiring officer on his last mission doesn't have lots of action in it (Ford seems to have thrown in a fistfight with McLaglin just because that actor had little to do, and though it's corny, it has a wonderful beginning).

Apart from Wayne, the reason to watch this is the cinematography. Monument valley, host to myriad westerns, never looked better. They even captured a marvelous thunderstorm in the background, in these days before special effects (the cinematographer, who did snatch an Oscar, originally protested the work, but Ford made him film the scene and they ended up with one of the most striking natural scenes ever).

For years people didn't think Wayne could act. Some, like me, grew up on his later, post-"True Grit" movies, when he did tend to walk through his parts, more icon than actor. He didn't have great finesse with his lines (neither does a fine actor of today, Harrison Ford), but his roles rarely called for the nicety of a Jeremy Irons. In his better movies, Wayne proves he's more than just a movie star. This is his finest hour, and may be John Ford's.


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