Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

Approved  |   |  Western, Crime  |  18 May 1960 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,559 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 24 critic

Respected black cavalry Sergeant Brax Rutledge stands court-martial for raping and killing a white woman and murdering her father, his superior officer.


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Complete credited cast:
Lt. Tom Cantrell
Mary Beecher
Mrs. Cordelia Fosgate
Juano Hernandez ...
Sgt. Matthew Luke Skidmore
Col. Otis Fosgate
Capt. Shattuck
Judson Pratt ...
Lt. Mulqueen


Lieutenant Tom Cantrell is sent to defend Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, a black cavalry soldier, on a charge of rape and murder. The story begins in a courtroom and it is told through flashbacks. This is a story of how a black soldier in the face of danger from the Indians can be so easily mistaken as a criminal. Written by Christopher D. Ryan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You knew all along that love had nothing to do with it ... See more »


Western | Crime


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 May 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain Buffalo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Third-billed Billie Burke, age 76, played Cordelia Fosgate, the wife of Col. Fosgate, played by Willis Bouchey, who was only 53. See more »


The character of 1st Sgt. Rutledge says the Apache are Mescalero. This story is set in Arizona and the Mescalero are and have always been a New Mexico people. See more »


1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge: You can't make self-defense out of it. There's still that dead white girl. Nobody'd believe I didn't touch her.
See more »


Featured in Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western (1997) See more »


Captain Buffalo
Words and Music by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful piece of social history
26 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This movie was a wonderful piece of social history. It was filmed during a turbulent time in the United States when Civil Rights marches were really making headlines. It was a well crafted and movingly brave attempt to address in celluloid what the Civil Rights movement was addressing on placards.

Throughout the trial, colour isn't mentioned at all until near the end, but the underlying issue is one of race and how easy it would have been to jump to the wrong conclusion and ‘Hang ourselves a nigger'. It was also incredibly brave to show how the protagonist, Sergeant Rutledge, (beautifully played by Woody Strode) was helped by a white woman; again very rare at that time.

This is a hidden gem of a movie, and although the dialogue gets a little stilted at times, it doesn't detract from the central issue. Judging by his performance when under oath, Woody Strode is up there with the best of the marvellous Black actors that have changed the face of social America.

I rate this 10 out of ten.

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