Pillars of the Sky (1956)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  12 October 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 299 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

In Oregon Country, 1868, several tribes of Native Americans have been placed on a reservation north of the Snake River. Here Doctor Holden has built a church, and many of the tribes have ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel) (as Will Henry)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Calla Gaxton
Dr. Joseph Holden
Keith Andes ...
Capt. Tom Gaxton
Sgt. Lloyd Carracart
Col. Edson Stedlow
Olive Carey ...
Mrs. Anne Avery
Charles Horvath ...
Sgt. Dutch Williams
Orlando Rodriguez ...
Glen Kramer ...
Lt. Winston
Floyd Simmons ...
Lt. Hammond
Pat Hogan ...
Felix Noriego ...


In Oregon Country, 1868, several tribes of Native Americans have been placed on a reservation north of the Snake River. Here Doctor Holden has built a church, and many of the tribes have accepted Christianity and Christian names. Sgt. Emmett Bell is in charge of maintaining order here. When the cavalry, under the command of Col. Stedlow, arrives, building a bridge across the river and intending to open a road across the reservation to areas north, some of the tribal chiefs feel their treaty has been violated. As the cavalry column advances into the reservation, Kamiakin vows to lead the tribes in battle against the encroaching white men. Written by Jeff Hole <jeffhole@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a people's faith and the courage of a man they called Godless!




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Release Date:

12 October 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dem Tode entronnen  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the few westerns where the Indians actually ride bareback or on blankets instead of a blanket over the saddle. See more »


When Sgt Bell goes to the tent for a drink of whiskey and Sgt Carrracart tells him the still is small, Sgt Bell leaves and Sgt Carracart takes a drink from a canteen. The canteen is a Scout model made of Aluminum and not available until the 1900's. See more »


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Sweet Thing
Arranged by Milton Rosen
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User Reviews

Different, and surprisingly good
6 January 2003 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Given the basically no-star cast and the fact that it came from Universal-International, it's understandable that you might think this would be just another run-of-the-mill "B" oater--and you'd be dead wrong. This first-rate western has several things going for it. The breathtaking Oregon locations have been beautifully captured by Harold Lipstein's expert Technicolor cinematography. The colors are lush, and the photography is so atmospheric you can almost feel the chill in your bones as the troops slog through the rugged mountain country. There are several rousingly staged and exciting action scenes, notably a somewhat lengthy sequence in which a wagon train loaded with troops cuts its way through a mass of charging Indians. The performances by a cast of veteran character actors--Lee Marvin in an early role (although his Irish brogue is a bit much), Keith Andes, Charles Horvath, Alberto Morin and Willis Bouchey, among others--are top-notch, Dorothy Malone is beautiful, Jeff Chandler gives a more authoritative (and animated) performance than he usually did and Ward Bond does an outstanding job as a caring and concerned missionary who doesn't want to see bloodshed on either side. The main thing the film has going for it, though, is the subject matter. Rather than having the usual Apaches or Comanches rampaging through the Southwest, the film is set in the Oregon mountain country, and the Indians are not superstitious savages but have been converted to Christianity by missionary Bond, and many in their religious zeal have given up their "animal" names and taken the names of Biblical figures (to further drive the point home, one soldier complains to Bond that, since he has "Christianized" the Indians, they have no qualms about attacking at night; "uncivilized" Indians never attacked at night for fear that if they were killed, their spirits would roam in the dark forever and never find peace). As far as I know, this particular facet of the Indian wars had never been tackled before or, for that matter, since. The story consistently holds your interest (although the triangle between Chandler, Malone and Andes tends to slow things down somewhat), the action scenes are terrific, the photography, as noted, is superb. A very worthy effort from veteran director George Marshall. Well worth your time.

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