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The Raiders (1963)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Western | December 1963 (USA)
Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane help a Texas rancher against the railroad.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok
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Martha 'Calamity Jane' Canary
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William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody
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Capt. Benton
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Sgt. Austin Tremaine
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'Uncle Otto' Strassner
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Jellicoe
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Jack Goodnight (as Dick Cutting)
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Huntington Lawford
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Pvt. Jean Duchamps
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Paul King
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Commissioner Mailer
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Jimmy McElroy
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Storyline

A group of seven West Texas ranchers, poverty-stricken by the just-concluded war-between-the-states, headed by John G. McElroy (Brian Keith'), a former colonel in the Confederate army, attempt to drive their cattle herds from Texas to the rail-head at Hays City, Kansas. They encounter trouble at the borders of the Six Nations Indian country in the Territory of Oklahoma. Convinced that they must have an extension of the rail-line into Texas, they continue to Hays City to demand it. The manager of the Kansas & Pacific Railroad is behind schedule in building tracks to Puueblo, Colorado and refuses to do anything for the Texans. The irritated Texans start a war of attrition against the railroad which bring them into conflict with Wild Bill Hickok (Robert Culp) and "Buffalo Bill" Cody (Jim McMillan), who are employed by both the railroad and the U.S.Army, and "Calamity Jane" Canary, who has an equipment-freighting contract for the railroad's construction work. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE ONLY BAND OF MEN TO FIGHT THE U.S.ARMY TO A STANDSTILL (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Plainsman  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Chappaqua (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Let's Take 'em to Missouri, again
29 March 2015 | by See all my reviews

The Raiders was one of the last films you will see made taking what was standard historical interpretation at the time point of view that the Reconstruction period was when the sadistic and moneygrubbing carpetbag governments squeezed the last ounce of pride from the fallen Confederacy. The Civil Rights revolution put an end to all of that.

The Raiders starts out as a cut down version of The Texans or Red River with Brian Keith trying with his fellow cattlemen to get that big herd to Missouri. Only they have far less success than Randolph Scott or John Wayne in those other classics. Beaten and beat Keith and his comrades go to Fort Hays and see temporary commander Alfred Ryder and railroad man Addison Richard. They veto a southern route and Keith says no southern route, no railroad at all.

At this point the film switches to something like Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman where Robert Culp, James McMullan, and Judi Meredith play Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Calamity Jane Canary respectively. Culp takes the lead in trying to avoid some big trouble, but Keith is proud and angry and Ryder is a tin soldier martinet who carries a Texas Minie Ball in his leg from the late Civil War. In fact Ryder has the juiciest role in the film.

I'm guessing this was a pilot for a possible TV series that Culp, McMullan and Meredith would have starred in. The Civil Rights Revolution and changing attitudes would make this kind of film unacceptable. You rarely saw southern heroes after The Raiders came out.

As it is it's no different than a lot of what was on television because it was meant for television. It might worked in 1953 even, but not in the Sixties.


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