81 user 32 critic

The Unforgiven (1960)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | 6 April 1960 (USA)
The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiowa tribe.



(screenplay), (based on a novel by) (as Alan LeMay)

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Complete credited cast:


Western about racial intolerance focuses around Kiowa claim that the Zachary daughter is one of their own, stolen in a raid. The dispute results in other whites turning their backs on the Zacharys when the truth is revealed by Mother. Cash, the hotheaded brother, reacts violently upon learning his "sister" is a "red-hide Indian." He leaves the family but returns to help them fight off an Indian raid. Written by <rita.richardson@arch2.nara.gov>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Breed Apart..Unashamed..Unforgettable! See more »


Drama | Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 April 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Siege at Dancing Bird  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Natalie Wood was considered for the role of Rachel Zachary. See more »


In the search scene in the desert, at high winds, when the two cowboys try to reach for the cactus' protection, the horse's mane dangles like if there was no wind at all. See more »


[first lines]
[yelling at a cow eating grass growing on the Zachary family's roof]
Rachel Zachary: Shoo now! Shoo! Ain't you got no better manners than to eat at the top of a house?
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Referenced in Clay Pigeons (1998) See more »


Turkey in the Straw
Played after the lunch of the Zacharys and the Rawlins families
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

John Huston takes on racism
2 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

This classic film from one of the greatest directors of the 20th century boasts an incredible cast: Audrey Hepburn, Lillian Gish (silent films), Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy (war hero), a young Doug McClure, all of whom show classic acting at its finest. Go beneath the dialogue and watch the body movements, facial expressions and withheld, unspoken emotion of these superb actors (esp Gish and Lancaster). Check out the incredible performance of the wraith-like, howling itinerant evangelist (Joseph Wiseman) who seems to know the "secret". The score by Dmitri Tiomkin is terrific, with a minimum of Hollywood-style Native American drumming (and flute playing. Indeed, the music played by the Kiowas during the "break" was fascinating. Although the story is set in 1800s Texas panhandle, the theme is universal and hard-hitting: racism, and a family divided by their differing views. I found the portrayal of the Kiowa culture to be accurate, esp the use of costumes and rituals. Remember, this film was made in 1960, a time when racial intolerance was rarely put on film, and the fair presentation of Native Americans was almost non-existent. Indeed, this is why Huston wanted this project. Remarkably, this film is NOT pro-Indian or pro-settler, rather it's an honest depiction of a clash of cultures. My only disappointment, a minor one, was that the film ended rather abruptly for my taste, almost as if they ran out of film. But then again, I'm not a director! I found interesting background on the making of this film at dvdverdict.com

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