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Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

Approved | | Crime, Western | 28 May 1960 (USA)
2:27 | Trailer

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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:
Sgt. Matthew Luke Skidmore
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 <cryan@direct.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's the rendezvous with DEATH for men to whom DEATH was no stranger! See more »


Crime | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 May 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain Buffalo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first of several films Woody Strode did with John Ford, who called him his closest friend. See more »


Early in the movie during Tom and Mary's conversation on the train, when the camera is on Tom, steam/smoke is visible passing by the window beside them, but not when the camera is on Mary. See more »


[Rutledge enters the court room under guard and presents himself to the President of the Court-Martial]
1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge: First Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, C Troop, Ninth United States Cavalry.
[the spectators erupt into bedlam. Sitting in the front seats, the officers' wives, especially Mrs. Fosgate, have been chattering constantly, and a crowd of men at the back begin shouting that Rutledge should be hanged, and so forth. Fosgate bangs his gavel repeatedly]
Lt. Tom Cantrell: Mr. President!
Col. Otis Fosgate - president of the court-martial: Order!
Lt. Tom Cantrell: Mr. President! I request this ...
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Referenced in John Ford et Monument Valley (2013) See more »


Captain Buffalo
Words and Music by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
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User Reviews

Perhaps the Best John Ford Western
24 February 2008 | by See all my reviews

Up to now I have considered "The Searchers" the Best of Ford Westerns. It has better picture (VistaVision), and the legend of John Wayne to back it. Some of the secondary roles are better portrayed by more expert actors such as Ward Bond, just to mention one. Production is more lavish..

But the plot in "The Searchers" is unidirectional. It's just a story of white settlers against Indians.

Sergeant Rutledge goes much deeper, into the social "fabric" of America,

To avoid fastidious repetition, let me just point that the story goes into "American Problems" that endure 100 years after. Racism, young female behavior, that affects men of power, and old rich females who own perhaps more than 50% of the total assets (the wealth of the Nation) of the USA, and last but not least, the excessive power and "tricks" of legal professionals that always leads to corruption.

It is all there. If the actors were a bit upper-crust it would be the best, but Jack Warner did no provide the cash.

A must see...

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