Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
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
John Ford initially was uncertain who to cast in the lead role. However, he knew that he did not want John Wayne for the part-considering, among other factors, that Wayne would be playing a character over twenty years older than he was at the time. Reportedly, Wayne's performance in Red River (1948) changed Ford's mind, causing him to exclaim, "I didn't know the big son of a bitch could act!" Ford realized Wayne had grown considerably as an actor, and was now capable of playing the character he envisaged for this film. When shooting was completed, Ford presented Wayne with a cake with the message, "You're an actor now." See more »
The film says that news of the Battle of Little Big Horn (1876) was spread by the Pony Express - which went out of business in 1861. See more »
The fact that the names of Captain Nathan Brittles and Sgts Tyree and Quincannon have passed, not just into the mythology of the American western, but of movies themselves is testament to the iconic status of Ford's 1949 masterpiece, the second and best of what became known as his cavalry trilogy. That their names are also burned into our collective cinematic consciousness is also testament to the performances of John Wayne, Ben Johnson and Victor McLaglen who are all at their best here and yet are only part of a great ensemble that also includes that very fine and undervalued actress Joanne Dru as well as Mildred Natwick, John Agar, Harry Carey Jr and Arthur Shields.
The period is the Indian Wars that followed from the massacre of General Custer and Ford filmed it mostly in his beloved Monument Valley. It is largely devoid of the sentimentality of "Rio Grande" though it is never as dark nor as serious as "Fort Apache", (it straddles the middle-ground magnificently; even the comic fight scene doesn't sit uncomfortably), and while Ford may make the Indians the villains of the piece he nevertheless bestows on them a kind of dignity and some degree of respect. Ford's sentimentality isn't necessarily for the cavalry but for the passing of the 'old' West and the loss of Native American culture
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