Rio Grande (1950)

Approved  |   |  Romance, Western  |  15 November 1950 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,776 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 44 critic

Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as James Kevin Mc Guinness) , (Saturday Evening Post story)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Fort Apache (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Adventure | War | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers
Action | Western | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin
Rio Bravo (1959)
Comedy | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson
Big Jake (1971)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1909, when John Fain's gang kidnaps Big Jake McCandles' grandson and hold him for ransom, Big Jake sets out to rescue the boy.

Directors: George Sherman, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara
The Quiet Man (1952)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald
Red River (1948)
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
McLintock! (1963)
Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

George Washington McLintock, "GW" to friends and foes alike, is a cattle baron and the richest man in the territory. He anxiously awaits the return of his daughter Becky who has been away ... See full summary »

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne
Rio Lobo (1970)
Adventure | Western | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After the Civil War, Cord McNally searches for the traitor whose perfidy caused the defeat of McNally's unit and the loss of a close friend.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Wayne, Jorge Rivero, Jennifer O'Neill
Stagecoach (1939)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sons of the Pioneers ...
Regimental Musicians (as Sons Of The Pioneers)
Peter Ortiz ...
Steve Pendleton ...
Capt. Prescott
Karolyn Grimes ...
Margaret Mary
Alberto Morin ...
Stan Jones ...


Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is in charge of training of new recruits one of which is his son whom he hasn't seen in 15 years. He whips him into shape to take on the Apaches but not before his mother shows up to take him out of there.The decision to leave is left up to Trooper Yorke who decides to stay and fight. Through it all Kirby and Kathleen though separated for years fall back into love and decide that it's time to give it another try. But Yorke faces his toughest battle when his unorthodox plan to outwit the elusive Apaches leads to possible court- martial. Locked in a bloody Indian war, he must fight to redeem his honor and save the love and lives of his broken family Written by Christopher D. Ryan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


John Ford's Most Powerful Drama. The Breathtaking Saga of the United States Cavalry! See more »


Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 November 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Ford and Merian C. Cooper's Rio Grande  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,214,899 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ben Johnson (Tyree) and Victor McLaglen (Quincannon) had the same character names in both this film and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). The oddity is in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"--released before this one-- Johnson was an older Sergeant (who had also formerly been a Confederate Captain) and McLaglen was also older, but with a lower rank (First Sergeant instead of Sergeant Major). See more »


When Col Kirby enters the Rio Grande to meet with the Mexican officer, he orders the bugler to sound flourishes. The shot from the US side as they enter the river has the bugler to Kirby's right. The camera angle changes to the Mexican side and the bugler is now to Kirby's left. See more »


Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon: [breaking up soldier's fight] Break it up! Who started this?
Trooper Travis Tyree: [indicating Heinze] This fella talked derogatory about the boy's pappy.
Trooper Daniel 'Sandy' Boone: Yeah, he called him the teacher's pet of a chuckle-headed Mick sergeant. What's that mean, doc?
Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon: [to Heinze] Oh, you said that, did ya?
Trooper Heinze: Yes, I did.
Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon: And did ya mean it?
Trooper Heinze: Yes I did.
Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon: [exasperated] A chuckle... what was that?
Trooper Daniel 'Sandy' Boone: Chuckle-headed Mick sergeant.
Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon: And you meant it?
See more »


Featured in 100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) See more »


Aha,San Antone
Words and Music Dale Evans
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Sentimental, psychological, classic movie, very unique for its genre
24 July 2005 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

Although I am not particularly fond of westerns, I saw this movie since I had heard much about it from many people. It is true that a lot of westerns show the wild lives of cowboys overdoing with cruelty. RIO GRANDE, however, is a different story. It is not only a western but a highly educational movie which combines all precious values in life, some of which do not necessarily go in harmony, including honor, love, the feeling of duty, grandeur, and psychological reflections. Moreover, as a film, it is supplied with highly prestigious cinematography, memorable music, and, most importantly, great cast. But there is something more that makes Ford's film really memorable - the characters presented very clearly. But why such a title? While watching the movie, one clearly notices that the title RIO GRANDE does not only refer to the famous river that separated the cavalrymen from Indians in Mexico, but has wider metaphorical extensions.

The characters are very well developed throughout. Lieutanant Kirby Yorke (John Wayne), a northerner, lost the family 15 years earlier but never gives up finding a chance to rebuild the old relationship with his southern wife, Kathleen (Maureen O'Hara) and their son Jeff. His "rio grande" is duties and strict orders that make a barrier for a happy life within the family. Kathleen Yorke tries to get her son out of the cavalry; however, Jeff decides to protect honor rather than his comfort. She also aims at rebuilding the family ties with Kirby but is aware that it requires much sacrifice. Their relationship is built upon a high respect for the freedom of both and a very delicate love between a man and a woman. Jeff (Claude Jarman), their son, attempts to do right and seeks for the honorable deeds. The blink of ambition in his eyes is noticeable in every scene with him. There are also other characters that the movie shows in a very psychological light (consider Travis Tyree played by Ben Johnson).

The cast give memorable performances but the pair of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara shine above all. Wayne seems to have been born for the role and, although he played in two previous parts of John Ford's cavalry trilogy (FORT APACHE and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON), he gives his best performance in RIO GRANDE. Wayne wonderfully emphasizes grandeur, feeling of duty and a husband who reflects on his past mistakes in marriage. Maureen O'Hara has something aristocratic in her behavior as well as in her appearance, which helps her portray a southern lady who used to live a rich life on a plantation. She also stresses her attempts to rebuild the past mistakes; however, she seems to be driven by completely different factors.

Music is absolutely wonderful for this genre. The ballads supply the movie with sentimental mood. Yes, they are deadly sentimental, but they in no way make you sad but rather lifted to high emotions. Here comes to my mind a very poetic scene when Wayne and O'Hara are serenaded by troop soldiers on one moonlit night. Their faces strongly express profound emotions and nostalgia for the better life together. This is so well played that anybody who sees the pair will be able to deduce some reflections from their faces.

Some people said that the Apaches are showed as real monsters in RIO GRANDE. It is important to state here that they are showed exactly in the way they were perceived rather than what they were really like. These were very "wild" tribes in the eyes of the white people and that is what the film shows. As a matter of fact, both the Apaches and the cavalrymen defended their values and John Ford did not forget about it.

And coming back to the thrilling atmosphere of the movie, there is one more aspect that needs to be mentioned - the locations. The Monument Valley supplies the scenes with authenticity as well as drives viewers into a wonderful mood. It simply leaves an unfading trace in memory as do the cast, the content, and everything about RIO GRANDE.

What to say at the end?... The last part of Ford's cavalry trilogy, though 55 years old, is a classic attempt to bring all that is valuable onto screen - HISTORY MEETS SINGLE INDIVIDUALS! Aren't our lives constructed in such a way that we all have our own "rio grande", such a barrier that closes us from happiness? I leave this universal question open to every open minded reader as John Ford implicitly did more than 50 years ago to every open minded viewer. Anyway, the film is unarguably worth seeing!

41 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Maureen O'Hara bluiz1955
Captain St. Jacques curlew-2
Trooper Travis Tyree avarco
What's that song? kilocycles
Why B/W? emailtb-1
Help bud-steigerwald
Discuss Rio Grande (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: