The US Army is under pressure from the desperate relatives of white prisoners of the Comanches to secure their rescue. A cynical and corrupt marshal, Guthrie McCabe, is persuaded by an army... See full summary »
A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »
When the government agency fails to deliver even the meager supplies due by treaty to the proud Cheyenne tribe in their barren desert reserve, the starving Indians have taken more abuse than it's worth and break it too by embarking on a 1,500 miles journey back to their ancestral hunting grounds. US Cavalry Capt. Thomas Archer is charged with their retrieval, but during the hunt grows to respect their noble courage, and decides to help them. Written by
According to both John Ford and James Stewart, Ford added the segment with Stewart in place of an intermission. Ford didn't want people leaving the auditorium to go the bathroom or concessions counter, even though the film was long, and so he came up with the Wyatt Earp segment. He later quipped to Stewart that the actor was the "best intermission" in the movies. See more »
When Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz talks with the colonel at the Victory Cave, the soldiers standing in the background are from a totally different scene: the light, colors and proportions are different. See more »
Secretary of the Interior:
I can say that it amounts to the same thing. The smaller the reservations, the easier they are to guard. You let the Army have its way, and it
[the Indian reservations]
Secretary of the Interior:
will end up the size of postage stamps. Exactly what the land grabbers want.
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This film is the perfect counterpoint to early John Ford films such as Stagecoach. In Stagecoach every indian was painted as a bloodthirsty savage, out to menace all of the civilized folk. Cheyenne Autumn, on the other hand is a very revealing film... behind it all you can almost feel John Ford questioning himself and his previous views on American history. In this film it is the US soldiers who are painted as the brutal savages, and the indians are the civilized folk. It's amazing to see Ford, who practically built his career glorifying the chivalry of the western hero, do a complete 360 to end up de-glorifying it. I have the feeling that this was a very personal film for Ford and in that light it really does make him one of the great auteurs of cinema.
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