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The Charge at Feather River (1953)

Approved | | Western | 11 July 1953 (USA)
In Colorado territory, Miles Archer is asked by the cavalry at Fort Bellows to aid in rescuing two white women abducted by the Cheyenne and to provide security for the railroad construction teams.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Miles Archer
Sgt. Charlie Baker
Anne McKeever
Jennie McKeever
Dick Wesson ...
Pvt. Cullen
Grover Johnson
Pvt. Ryan
Johnny McKeever
Fay Roope ...
Lt. Col. Kilrain
Pvt. Morgan
Henry Kulky ...
Pvt. Smiley
Pvt. Zebulon Poinsett
Fred Carson ...
Chief Thunder Hawk
Pvt. Connors
Ralph Brooks ...
Pvt. Wilhelm


The story involves an overland journey through hostile Cheyenne territory to rescue two white women captured by the Cheyenne. One has turned renegade and is not anxious to be rescued as she is about to be married to Chief Thunder Hawk. Vera Miles dies and the cavalry comes to the rescue in the nick of time by a stream called Feather River. Knives, arrows, spears and tomahawks all come flying at the audience. Frank Lovejoy discourages a rattlesnake with tobacco juice and even gets off a shot into the audience. Written by Tom Kresin <tomk@meaddata.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Gallantry Never Equalled! Spectacle Never Before Seen! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 July 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Burning Arrow  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(WarnerPhonic/RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


André De Toth, who had directed the 3-D features House of Wax (1953) and The Stranger Wore a Gun (1953), turned down an offer from Warner Bros. to direct this film. See more »


The Cheyenne did not scalp. Almost no natives peoples west of the Mississippi scalped. A few learned the practice from the European settlers. See more »


Pvt. Cullen: Well, sir, when I get drunk I forget what I do and I steal.
Miles Archer: Uh-huh.
Pvt. Cullen: And when I steal, I want to forget what I did so I get drunk.
Miles Archer: I just get drunk
See more »


Remade as Cheyenne: West of the River (1956) See more »

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The Guardhouse Brigade
7 May 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Charge At Feather River finds Guy Madison in charge of a group of misfit soldiers called the Guardhouse Brigade because that's where most of them were recruited for this mission from. The mission is to rescue two white women, Helen Westcott and Vera Miles, who were taken years ago during a raid and are now confirmed alive and now living with the Arapahoe.

The worst of his recruits is Neville Brand, but the rest of the crew that Madison has are no prizes with the exception of Lane Chandler who was a former Confederate officer who captured Madison during the Civil War. Along for comic relief are Dick Wesson and Henry Kulky who provide some levity in what is a serious film.

Vera Miles got her first real notice here. She's never been to Sweden, but she suffers from Stockholm syndrome as she now totally identifies with her captors. In fact she's going to be the bride of the chief, making him quite the envy of his tribe since none of them are married to any blonds. She acquits herself well in the part.

The film is loosely based on a real cavalry engagement in the Indian Wars, the battle of Beecher's Island. It combines elements of The Dirty Dozen and with John Ford's classic Two Rode Together.

And of course there's the 3-D which elicited a lot of excitement back in the Fifties. Even today seeing the various spears, tomahawks, and even some tobacco juice, courtesy of Frank Lovejoy, coming right at you on the small screen is impressive.

The Charge At Feather River still holds up well today, but should really be seen at a movie theater.

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