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
The role of Lt. Scott was originally offered to Jeffrey Hunter, who turned it down in order to star in the TV series Temple Houston (1963). The part was eventually given to Patrick Wayne. Hunter's series only ran for one season before it was cancelled. See more »
During the cavalry's first encounter with the Indians, the cannons are fired and there is absolutely no recoil. See more »
Capt. Thomas Archer:
Have you ever seen a Cheyenne?
Of course I have.
Capt. Thomas Archer:
No you haven't! All you've ever seen is reservation Indians looking pitiful as fish out of water. But give them a chance and they're the greatest fighters in the world. Will you listen to me? It takes a blue coat to make a white man a soldier... but a Cheyenne is a soldier from the first slap on his butt. War is his life. He's fierce, he's smart... and he's meaner than sin!
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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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