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Crude and uncivilized backwoods trapper Jed Cooper and his two partners sign up as scouts in a remote Oregon army fort, manned chiefly by untrained rookie soldiers. Jed, flirting with the idea of leading a more settled life, decides he needs a woman to start the process, and selects Corinna Marston, the beautiful young wife of Colonel Marston, commander of the next fort down the line. Marston arrives and announces to commanding officer Captain Riordan that he has lost his fort and most of his men to an Indian attack and that he, as ranking officer, is assuming command. Riordan, a young, but sensible officer, is outraged when he learns that Marston, posted out west for having lost his 1500-man command during a Civil War battle, has ordered the entire fort's complement, totally unprepared for combat and outnumbered, to march out against experienced Indian warriors. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
The Colonel takes over the Captain's command without any orders after he loses his own. The Captain even mentions it once but is casually dismissed by the Colonel since he is the Captain's superior officer. It has never worked that way in the Army, a superior officer cannot take over a junior officer's command without official orders. And if he tries to, the junior officer and his staff have every right to place the superior officer under arrest, especially if he endangers the entire command (and given that the Colonel has twice lost entire commands, this is not an unrealistic danger). See more »
Drama set in the west that makes some sharp observations
More of an army drama set in the West vs. a Western this has solid direction and some good actors. Victor Mature is hammy but Guy Madison gives a stronger performance here than was usual for him, relaxed and assured. Robert Preston is the cruel commander who is revealed early on as a soulless martinet. He is married to a soft and startlingly blond Anne Bancroft who is good but whose role is incidental. The film makes some veiled and some pointed references to early pioneers disregard for the ways not only of the Indians but of trappers and others who had easily coexisted with them destroying their way of life as valueless merely because it was not the settlers way.
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