The Big Sky (1952)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western  |  19 August 1952 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,813 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 19 critic

The success of the journey focuses on keeping the Indian girl alive as well as themselves to complete trade with the Blackfeet.



(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
0Check in
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Colorado territory, outlaw Wes McQueen escapes jail to pull a railroad robbery but, upon meeting pretty settler Julie Ann, he wonders about going straight.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A bounty hunter escorts a killer to town to be hanged, but is allowing the man's outlaw brother to catch up with him, for a showdown over a shocking previous murder.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts
Adventure | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A U.S. Marshall and two deputies rescue a cattle rustler from a lynch mob led by a local cattle baron convinced that the rustler also killed his son.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Virginia Mayo, John Agar
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A scout leading a wagon train through hostile Indian country unwittingly gets involved with a Sioux chief's daughter.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Elsa Martinelli, Walter Matthau
Wagon Master (1950)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two young drifters guide a Mormon wagon train to the San Juan Valley and encounter cutthroats, Indians, geography, and moral challenges on the journey.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Ben Johnson, Joanne Dru, Harry Carey Jr.
Air Force (1943)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The crew of an Air Force bomber arrives in Pearl Harbor in the aftermath of the Japanese attack and is sent on to Manila to help with the defense of the Philippines.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Garfield, John Ridgely, Gig Young
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A western based on the story "Gunsight Whitman" by Silvia Richards. Vern Haskell, a nice rancher, seeks out to avenge his fiancé's death when she is killed during a robbery. His revenge ... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An ambitious lumberjack abandons his saloon girl lover so that he can marry into wealth, but years later becomes infatuated with the woman's daughter.

Directors: Howard Hawks, William Wyler, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Edward Arnold, Joel McCrea, Frances Farmer
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
Yellow Sky (1948)
Crime | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Pistol-packing tomboy, and grandfather come to discover band of bank robbing bandits taking refuge in the neighboring ghost town.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, Richard Widmark
Forty Guns (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Showdown in Arizona between the Bonnell brothers, U.S.Marshals, and Jessica Drummond, the iron-fist rancher who controls the territory.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger
The Furies (1950)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A firebrand heiress clashes with her tyrannical father, a cattle rancher who fancies himself a Napoleon; but their relationship turns ugly only when he finds himself a new woman.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Walter Huston


Complete credited cast:
Jim Deakins
Boone Caudill
Elizabeth Threatt ...
Teal Eye
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Zeb Calloway
Buddy Baer ...
Steven Geray ...
'Frenchy' Jourdonnais
Henri Letondal ...
La Badie


Jim Deakins is a frontiersman and Indian trader who is making a perilous journey with a group of other men up the Missouri River to get a large haul of furs from friendly Blackfoot Indians. The problem is that they have to get through hostile Indian territory first and they find that they have seriously underestimated the difficulties they will undergo. The large body of men who started the journey are gradually whittled down until only a hardy few, like Deakins, are left. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She was a hostage - beautiful, silent, smoldering with hate...her presence lighted the torch of desire...and shattering conflict! (original poster) See more »


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

19 August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' The Big Sky  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Montgomery Clift was offered the role of "Boone Caudill", but turned it down. It was eventually given to Dewey Martin. See more »


Deakins' amputated finger is whole again when he hides out in the cave with Teal Eye and the others, and in every scene after that. See more »


'Frenchy' Jourdonnais: Calloway, what do you think? Do you think they went away, huh?
Zeb Calloway: They gone went. But the question is, will they stay gone went?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue:

The early history of America is a tale of great first times. There were men who were the first to cross new prairies and new mountains, the first to find gold, silver and copper; to plow new wheat fields and build new settlements.

This is the story of another of the great American firsts-- the tale of the first men who took a keelboat up the wild and unexplored Missouri River--who poled, pulled and rowed their way from St. Louis through 2000 miles of hostile Indian country to the hills of Montana and opened a new land for the future - - The Great Northwest. See more »


Referenced in Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) See more »


Brandy Leave Me Alone
Written by Josef Marais
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Great Adventure Film
12 March 2000 | by (Hollywood) – See all my reviews

"The Big Sky" is one of the most unique and entertaining adventure films ever made. Set in the American frontier of the early 1800s, it's the story of an ambitious party who pole their keel boat up the Missouri River into new territories, far beyond where other white men have ventured, to trade for furs with the Blackfeet Indians.

"The Big Sky" was filmed on location, and this alone makes the film worth watching, for the splenor of the Snake River and Grand Tetons, where the film was actually shot, is breathtaking.

But "The Big Sky" has other virtues which raise it far above the average "scenic". First, is the multi-layered plot. Besides the story of an enterprise, "The Big Sky" is about how men, in a time long past, interacted, when their differences were subordinated to a higher purpose. Second, is director Howard Hawks, whose trademark "naturalistic dialogue" technique is put to wonderful use here. Hawks works on complex relationships - male and female, "Frenchie" and Anglo backwoodsmen, Native Americans and whites - like a conductor a symphony. Third, and perhaps most touching, is the tale of male bonding not only among the group of men, but one-on-one between Jim Deakins, played by Kirk Douglas, and Boone, his young sidekick, played by Hawks protegé Dewey Martin. There's a nice, touching story toward the end.

This is a shamefully underrated film. Superb cinematography (Oscar nominated), rich plot, flawless casting (Arthur Hunnicutt nominated for Best Supporting Oscar), masterful direction, make "The Big Sky" a true classic.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Turner Classic Movies and 'The Big Sky' Django6924
DVD for The Big Sky? danmartin1979
Restored full length version JCF1129
dewey martin erik_le67
Arthur Lee Hunnicutt rhonda-yates
Is the long version shown by TCM the original version? danielj_old999
Discuss The Big Sky (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: