Rio Grande (1950)

Approved  |   |  Romance, Western  |  15 November 1950 (USA)
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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 »



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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 Greatest Romantic Triumph! 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?


First of five movies that paired John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. 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 »


Trooper Travis Tyree: Seems t' me they make a lotta fuss about jumpin' a horse over some sticks.
Trooper Jefferson 'Jeff' Yorke: That's a six-foot jump, Travis!
See more »


Featured in John Ford et Monument Valley (2013) See more »


Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played by army band at end
See more »

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User Reviews

Ford's Grand Vision of the West
20 October 2000 | by (Madison, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

As many people know, Rio Grande is the third installation of John Ford's sweeping "Cavalry trilogy*," his paean and dirge for the forging of the West after the Cival War. In each, there is Indian fighting, romance and Monument Valley. Younger officers look forward to winning glory in the Indian Wars while the older, veteran officers who served in the Civil War are tired of fighting and would rather keep the peace instead. And the enlisted men coming from all walks of life, some running from something, others trying to find something, but all taking war and peace as they come. They want to stay alive, but aren't too worried about dying.

Unlike the first two cavalry films, Rio Grande focuses more on the love between an Army officer and his wife, and the pain his life causes her. This pain is made even worse by the fact that their ònly son has chosen to follow his father's way of life, and winds up serving in his father's command. When, as is inevitable, Indians flee their reservation, the family becomes embroiled in war against the Apaches (whom, everyone knows, were the toughest, most ruthless and evil Indian fighters of them all). :))

This is where Ford moves away from typical westerns. While his Indians are fierce and tough, Ford tries to show in all the Cavalry films that they are also honorable and fighting for home and family, not because they are evil. And while Wayne's character must pursue his Indians until they're either captured or dead, he is not without both sympathy and respect, and knows for certain that it is the white man's treatment of them that is at the heart of all the Indian wars.

Over the years, as I've seen more and more of his movies, John Ford has become my favorite director. He had the ability to make stories with depth, compassion and remarkable truth; and these qualities have caused his films to last. I hope that you will see all of the Cavalry Trilogy, and then seek out all of the rest his movies.

*The other films in the trilogy are Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949).

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