6.8/10
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Cheyenne Autumn (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Western | 30 October 1964 (France)
The Cheyenne, tired of broken U.S. government promises, head for their ancestral lands but a sympathetic cavalry officer is tasked to bring them back to their reservation.

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(suggested by "Cheyenne Autumn"), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Capt. Thomas Archer
...
Deborah Wright
...
Capt. Wessels
...
Red Shirt
...
Spanish Woman (as Dolores Del Rio)
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Little Wolf
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Dull Knife
...
...
2nd Lt. Scott
...
Miss Plantagenet
...
Jeff Blair
...
Tall Tree
...
Senior First Sergeant
...
Maj. Braden
...
Dr. O'Carberry
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Storyline

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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LAND-GRABBING DOLLAR PATRIOTS! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 October 1964 (France)  »

Also Known As:

John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Little Wolf was a chief of the Cheyenne tribe in 1878. He and another chief led the Cheyenne off their Oklahoma reservation and took them back to their homeland in Montana, despite hundreds of US cavalry troops trying to stop them. This was called the "Cheyenne Autumn Trail" and is the basis for this film. See more »

Goofs

The lanterns held by army guards outside the warehouse where the Indians were being kept after surrendering were "Coleman" lanterns, first produced in 1914. See more »

Quotes

Little Wolf: I pray the young one will give me sons. But I want them to be born where I, and all my people before me, were born.
Dull Knife: Even a dog can go where he likes... but not a Cheyenne.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wages of Sin (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Yellow Rose of Texas
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the banjo during the saloon
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User Reviews

 
Excellent last film by the great John Ford with epic battles , intense drama and spectacular scenes
8 July 2012 | by See all my reviews

Historical and overlong movie recounting the legendary Cheyenne trek led by the Indian chiefs , Little Wolf and Dull Knife . The picture is an epic portrait of the historic story about celebrated Cheyenne (they are actually Navajo, telling dirty jokes in their native tongue) and their legendary feat leading the tribe on a journey to freedom , uprooting them from the Yellowstone and resettling them in distant Oklahoma . This majestic flick illustrates the callous disregard with which the government treated the Cheyenne in the 1880s as the US agency fails to deliver even the meager provisions due by peace treaty to the stubborn tribe in their stark desert reserve without proper supplies for survival ; then the starving Indians have taken more abuse than it's worth and break it too by embarking on a 1,500 miles trek back to their ancestral hunting grounds , being led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife (Ford was urged to cast Richard Boone and Anthony Quinn , as both had Native American blood ; Ricardo Montalban and Gilbert Roland, who were of Mexican descent, were cast instead) . Meanwhile , proud Cheyenne tribe square off US cavalry commanded by Thomas Archer (Richard Widmark) who leads his army on a wild chase across the barren plains in this saga of the old west . Red Shirt (Sal Mineo , John Ford would not allow Sal to speak any English dialog in the movie due to the actor's Bronx accent) , a rebel Indian does the first shot against cavalry . Captain Thomas Archer goes to deal with Secretary of Interior Schulz about the unfortunate Indians (Spencer Tracy was first cast as the secretary of interior Karl Shultz, but had a heart attack and was replaced by Edward G. Robinson, whose scenes were entirely photographed in studios, including the climatic meeting scene between Shultz and the Cheyenne chiefs, in which the background had to be done with screen process). The tribe refuses to surrender in this chronicle of a bitter fight between the tribe and the US cavalry in the struggle for the west.

This sprawling epic film displays action Western , shootouts , drama and spectacular battles . It's a thoughtful piece for its time that had an original tragic ending and imbued with moments of sensitive poetry . This nice Western contains interesting characters , full of wide open space and dramatic moments . This classic , sturdy picture ranks as one of the most sentimental of John Ford's work .Thought-provoking , enjoyable screenplay portraying in depth characters and brooding events with interesting issues running beneath script surface and suggested by Mari Sandoz in "Cheyenne Autumn¨ with screenplay by James R. Webb and based on a novel titled Last Frontier by Howard Fast who also wrote Spartacus . This excellent film featuring a magnificent performance by whole casting , including a top-notch support cast . Awesome Richard Widmark in a larger-than-life character along with a gorgeous Carrol Baker and a magnificent Karl Malden as deranged captain Wessels . In the film appears , as usual , Ford's favourite actors as Ben Johnson , Harry Carey Jr , Mike Mazurki , George O'Brien , Mae Marsh , Patrick Wayne , Dolores Del Rio , Ken Curtis , Elizabeh Allen , Willis Bouchey , and of course James Stewart as obstinate sheriff Earp . Ford added the segment with Stewart in place of an intermission , he 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 ; Ford later quipped to Stewart that the actor was the "best intermission" in the movies . Outdoors are pretty good and well photographed in Super Panavision 70mm by William H Clothier and filmed on location in Moab, Utah,Fort Laramie, Wyoming, Monument Valley, Utah , Gunnison Canyon, Colorado . Rousing and an impressive musical score by Alex North who composed other masterpieces as Spartacus and Cleopatra.

This may not be Ford's best Western , as many would claim , but it's still head ad shoulders above most big-scale movies .You'll find the ending over-dramatic according to your tastes , though it's lovingly composed by John Ford who really picks up battle , drama and sensibility towards the ending . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile watching . The motion picture well produced by Bernard Smith was brilliantly directed by John Ford at his last film . This powerful movie will appeal to Indian Western fans


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