Had this movie starred a lesser name than Dana Andrews, I probably never would have watched it or else turned it off after a while, as this was a rather dull but competently made picture. Aside from more modern sensibilities about the American Indians (they aren't savage or bad and there is an attempt to understand their motivations), there really isn't anything different to set this apart from hundreds, if not thousands of mediocre Westerns from the 40s and 50s.
Part of the problem was in casting Kent Smith as the Indian chief. He was a good journeyman actor, but here he was all wrong. While his character was supposed to have SOME White blood, Smith looked and sounded about as much like an Indian as Shirley Temple! It's odd that although the script is quite sensitive and "politically correct" by today's standards, they still used a lot of White actors in makeup as the Indians (if you look, you'll also notice Mike Mazurki as an Indian as well).
Another part of the problem is that while I like Dana Andrews a lot, I've got to admit he was pretty bland in the part--a part which would have been more convincing had it featured Randolph Scott or Jimmy Stewart. Andrews just wasn't believable as a cavalry scout in the old West. Andrews forte was in contemporary stories--placing him in a horse and Indian film just seemed unnatural and his performance reflects this.
Aside from these complaints, I am not recommending you avoid the film--it is fairly entertaining and won't rot your brain. However, it really is nothing more than a time-passer and it SHOULD have been much better given the decent script.
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