President Grant orders Indian fighter MacKay to negotiate with the Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon. On the way he must escort Nancy Meek to the home of her aunt and uncle.... See full summary »
An RAF squadron is brought down over occupied France. The flyers get to Paris in spite of the fact that the youngest, Baby, is injured. He must be hidden and his wounds cared for. The Gestapo has already issued orders for their arrest.
Duncan Craig signs on a whaling ship, partly because his own business deal has fallen through, partly to help Judie Nordhall find her father. Rumor has it that her father may have been ... See full summary »
Two men are released from the Arizona Territorial Prison at Yuma in 1898. One, the Dutchman, is out to get both gold and revenge from the people of a small mining town who had him ... See full summary »
Jim and Walter are two brother sailors in the United States Navy. Walter tells Jim as soon as they get home he is going to ask his beautiful girlfriend, Nancy Larkin to marry him. But Jim ... See full summary »
A Bank officer discovers a flaw in the U.S. extradition treaty with Brazil and decides to take advantage of it. On Friday, he steals a million dollars from the bank, knowing it won't be ... See full summary »
Andrew L. Stone
Delilah Lee is the star of husband Jeff Ames' Broadway show when she starts to suspect he has been exchanging more than contracts with the show's vampish backer. Alimony and amnesia become the order of the day.
Homicide detective Mike Conovan investigates the shooting of fellow detective Monigan...who apparrently was moonlighting as guard for a bookie. He finds that all the bookies in town are ... See full summary »
A conscientious attorney who is a member of the State Parole Board, finds his own son, using an alias, up for parole and makes the decision to cast the approving vote. This turns out to ... See full summary »
President Grant orders Indian fighter MacKay to negotiate with the Modocs of northern California and southern Oregon. On the way he must escort Nancy Meek to the home of her aunt and uncle. After Modoc renegade Captain Jack engages in ambush and other atrocities, MacKay must fight him one-on-one with guns, knives and fists. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
General Edward Canby, whose death is depicted in this movie, was in reality the only U.S. army general killed during the American Indian Wars. "General" G. A. Custer, killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, was not in fact a general at the time of his death. After the Civil War, he held the permanent rank of Lieutenant Colonel. See more »
When Captain Jack meets with the peace commission and asked by Johnny MacKay what it would take to make peace, he responds "all of the Lost River to the Klamath." He was in fact a Modoc. See more »
Sometimes it is as necessary to take risks to win peace as it is in war to win victories.
See more »
One of Alan Ladd's better post Paramount films was Drum Beat, based on a little known incident from the Indian wars.
For the first time an American general was killed during the wars against the Indian tribes. The little known Modoc war was another of those lesser known conflicts as action against the Sioux on the Great Plains and the Apache in the Arizona desert got far more attention.
The Modocs were moved from a reservation in northern California to one in Oregon to share with the Klamath, a tribe that had a long feuding history with the Modoc. That was the immediate cause of the war. It was kept going by one of the Modoc's more charismatic leaders, a chief named Captain Jack.
On April 11, 1873, General E.R.S. Canby among other peace commissioners who were sitting in council with Captain Jack and the other chiefs were suddenly shot and killed, in fact Captain Jack personally did shoot General Canby. Charles Bronson in his very first film with that name having dropped his real birth last name of Buckinsky plays Captain Jack. Warner Anderson plays the feckless and luckless Canby.
The horror of that incident aroused some bad public opinion against the Modocs, not to dissimilar against to what was aroused against the Japanese after Pearl Harbor and Islamist extremists after the World Trade Center attack albeit on a much smaller scale. It certainly shifted priorities for a while in the War Department from the Sioux and the Apache.
Alan Ladd plays a real frontier figure named Johnny MacKay who as the film has him was a civilian scout employed by the army to find Captain Jack. His role in real life was not at the center stage of the film, but he did play a part in the Modoc Wars. And he was not among the surviving peace commissioners he wasn't at the meeting when the assassinations happened.
For all its inaccuracies Drum Beat is the only film I know to deal with this incident that shocked a nation during The Gilded Age.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?